We present: The ten finalists chosen by the jury in the category “human rights”


(In alphabetical order)

Barcelona, refugee city – Barcelona, ciutat refugi

Jaume Asens, Deputy Mayor of Barcelona / Ignasi Calbó, Project Coordinator


Ready to help: preparing for a potential large influx of refugees

The Barcelona, Refugee City plan was launched in September 2015 to gear the city up to receive and assist refugees, provide the necessary services and guarantee their rights. The plan consists of four main parts that involve various City Council departments and services: reception strategy defines Barcelona’s reception model and the implementation stages, taking into account refugees’ needs and rights, but also those of the city’s population; care for refugees already in Barcelona, by bolstering the Care Service for Immigrants, Emigrants and Refugees (SAIER) and designing a care programme that offers protection and assistance to asylum seekers who are receiving no help from the state programme; citizen participation and information, including a civic space for coordinating the efforts of the City Council and NGOs in volunteer work, awareness-raising and development education tasks; action abroad, i.e. coordination and mutual support between European cities, city-to-city and in the international networks they belong to.

Diversity management – Vielfaltsmanagement

Peter Kurz, Oberbürgermeister von Mannheim


Bringing people together: Mannheim sets the pace for respectful urban coexistence

Municipalities today see a growing diversity of their citizens. The 336,368 people from more than 167 different nations living in the city of Mannheim represent considerable ethnic, cultural and religious diversity, complemented by the heterogeneity of other factors such as social background, age and gender, sexual identity or disability. For this reason, the city administration, within the framework of the CHANGE² administrative reform process, has set the goal of intercultural openness for respectful coexistence in urban society. The City Council of Mannheim promotes this through a Round Table on Diversity Management and strategies such as anonymous application procedures or sensitisation workshops for employees. The Mannheim Declaration for Living Together in Diversity convenes several times a year and organises more than 120 events during the four weeks of the Alliance Action Days every October. Success depends on the city administration developing this process in close cooperation and exchange with citizens.


Jacques Boutault, maire du 2ème arrondissement de Paris


Get in touch: reaching out to homeless people in the neighbourhood

The association Entourage aims to combat the social exclusion of homeless persons by encouraging residents to get in touch with their “street neighbours”. Entourage is developing an innovative collaborative network which helps local residents meet the street people they see every day, supported by other local residents and associations fighting exclusion. The project’s objectives are to gradually expand on French territory, to mobilise 450,000 consumer users and at least 80 associations fighting exclusion by the end of 2018. Last but not least, it aims to become an essential tool for social action and in the fight against extreme exclusion thanks to its capacity to articulate and coordinate the actions of the various stakeholders (associations, institutions, local residents, etc.).

Good Godesberg

Simone Stein-Lücke, Bürgermeisterin von Godesberg


Food and hospitality: making new immigrants feel welcome

In view of an increasing number of refugees arriving in Bad Godesberg (part of the City of Bonn), the Good Godesberg programme was established in March 2015. It is a pilot project which creates a new culture of welcoming immigrants, based on the assessment that food and hospitality facilitate getting to know a new culture. Good Godesberg began with lunch invitations from businesses located in the district and, in a short time, extended to haircuts, donations of clothes and diverse leisure activities (e.g. boat trips, visiting a Euro Cup basketball game, or local sport club activities). The project proved useful for improving immigrants’ well-being and making them feel welcome. The people of Bad Godesberg were also familiarised with foreign cultures and their “new neighbours”. Moreover, those who participate in the project have become role models for their fellow citizens. After establishing Good Godesberg, a new wave of solidarity and willingness to help the new arrivals developed in the district.

Integration project Kistlerhofstrasse – Integrationsprojekt Kistlerhofstrasse

Dieter Reiter, Oberbürgermeister der Stadt München


Integrative housing: young refugees living together with local students

This integrative housing project, the first of its kind in Germany, provides a home for 62 unaccompanied minor and young adult refugees between the ages of 16 and 26, alongside 41 university students. By living together with students of the same age group, young refugees can learn about German culture and can interact with a part of society immediately. The main aim of the project is to create a safe place for young refugees and to help them to live independently. They are often socially disadvantaged and, without family support, have specific needs regarding social integration, personal development, education, and further career guidance. Social workers are present 24/7 and support the young refugees by assisting them in obtaining a school degree, finding suitable apprenticeships or, if possible, jobs. The building also houses a social cafeteria, as well as conference rooms, which are accessible to the whole neighbourhood and thereby promote social interaction between people of different backgrounds.

Improving Outcomes for Young Black Men in Hackney

Anntoinette Bramble, Councillor


Integrative approach: creating better opportunities for disadvantaged young black men

Young black men have tended to fare worse than their peers in many ways, from poorer educational results to higher rates of offending. Public bodies have tried different approaches to dealing with it, but none have had the desired impact. Hackney’s new approach involves local people, the voluntary and community sectors, and the public sector coming together to jointly shape and deliver solutions. Their work aims to improve life chances for future generations as well as to coordinate support and opportunities for those who are 18-25 now. The focus is on harnessing successful potential, increasing visibility, and tackling inequalities, building on existing success without stereotyping or treating black men simply as problems to be solved. The programme sets clear goals to reduce disproportionality over the next ten years by ensuring that outcomes and opportunities for black boys and young black men are the same as for the wider population. It also aims to foster cultural changes in terms of aspirations and in terms of trust of the state and changes in media portrayals.

Led By HER

Axelle Lemaire / Isabelle Jegouzo


New ways of lawmaking: citizens take part in drafting a bill

For the first time in France and in Europe, a bill initiated by a national government was co-drafted by citizens, during an open, transparent and interactive three-week online consultation. 21,330 contributors commented on the text, suggested amendments and proposed new articles. 90 of the proposals made their way into the Digital Republic Bill before the legislation was even presented to Parliament. The bill was eventually adopted unanimously both by the National Assembly and the Senate. The participants claimed to be very satisfied with their experience, especially the youngest who discovered the making of a bill in real time. The text has now been implemented; it aims at widening the access to and dissemination of data and knowledge, ensuring equal rights for consumers, fair competition for companies, protecting online privacy, and promoting internet access as a universal right. An incubator for democratic innovations was launched as a private initiative following this experiment to support tech-based civic projects.

Marriage Equality

Eamon Gilmore, former Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Irish Labour Party


Same-sex marriage: introducing a controversial measure by referendum

In May 2015 Ireland became the first country in the world to approve same-sex marriage by popular referendum. Deputy Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore was the most senior government figure to declare his support for same-sex marriage in 2012, when he said “it is the civil rights issue of this generation”. As Leader of the Labour Party, Gilmore had, in the previous general election, committed to holding a referendum on permitting same-sex marriage. In government, he persuaded his more conservative coalition partner, Fine Gael, to agree. Gilmore was also the political leader who first proposed the establishment of a political innovation: a constitutional convention, two-thirds of whose members were randomly chosen citizens, which went on to recommend the holding of a referendum to change the definition of marriage in the Irish constitution so that same-sex couples could marry. The referendum was held, and 62% of participants approved the change.

Physical, mental and societal support for women who have been victims of violence

Farida Adlani, Vice-president in charge of social action, health and family for the region Île-de-France


Support centre: providing comprehensive care for female victims of violence

Based on a technical innovation (the invention in 1986 of a method to heal genital mutilation), the Institut en Santé génésique (ISG, Institute in Reproductive Health) has created a multidisciplinary care protocol. The ISG takes care of female victims of violence: it ensures detection, prevention and help for women who are victims of psychological, verbal, physical, sexual, economic and ritual violence, wherever it took place. The welcoming conditions guarantee confidentiality, equal access and treatment for all women, minors or adults, free of charge. The project brings together medicine and justice in one place: nurses, doctors, psychologists, legal experts and lawyers work together. This multidisciplinary organisation takes care of the victims, from welcoming them to resolving the situation. Moreover, the ISG offers training courses for health professionals and members of civil society who are confronted with violence against women. It also provides statistics about such violence for the public authorities.

We are asylum – Wir sind Asyl

Angelika Schwarzmann, Bürgermeisterin


Integration in a small town: helping refugees make their way

“Preserving the human dignity of refugees and organising self-help for accelerated integration into society and the labour market”: this describes the initiative in a nutshell. Engagement by citizens and numerous negotiations with authorities prevented the deportation of refugees to Hungary. Under the slogan “We are asylum”, almost 120 citizens protected refugees by organising a human chain and providing countless services. Mobilising citizens as mentors for tasks such as language learning or job orientation was key to a successful integration work. The initiative aimed to help people to help themselves. Therefore, an office was established and staffed with refugees on a voluntary basis, with engaged citizens supporting them. The office’s main tasks were to organise volunteer work by refugees for the local population and job orientation visits for refugees in local companies. For job orientation, a comprehensive concept was worked out based on the principle of traineeship. After actively involving refugees, the project changed its name to “We are active”.