Political Inclusion

Definition
Political inclusion is the right to political participation and to political representation of migrants on the same legal basis as host populations thus developing a notion of membership to a city’s population. This can be done by extending voting rights for local elections or creating advisory councils of diverse migrant communities.

Challenges
Unclear conditions of residence, lack of legal status or the unwillingness of the state to confer citizenship to migrants all interfere with a migrant’s ability to participate fully in the political life of a city or country of destination. Also, migrants that do not come from democratic societies may be unfamiliar with the power and meaning behind voting.

What can be done?
The “Agenda on Human Rights in the City” provides some examples on the type of action local governments can undertake.
In the Short-term: promote measures for participation in electoral processes; promote the political and social participation of people that do not enjoy the right to vote in local elections; establish mechanisms to provide all city inhabitants with access to transparent public information (in particular, essential information should be published in the city's most common languages).
In the Mid-term: establish a consultation process for the preparation of the budget; establish a system of citizen participation for the drafting of local projects, programs and policies, including the city's master plan and the local ordinances on participation (and to the follow-up and evaluation of local policies); organize consultations open to all city inhabitants, when justified by the general interest issues presented.

Example of good practice

Dublin Migrant Voters Campaign, Dublin, Ireland
In Dublin (Ireland) all migrants are entitled to vote, regardless of their status. To empower migrants to participate, the city established the Migrant Voters Campaign in which they work together with community leaders to reach the migrant population through voter education sessions and awareness campaigns. By involving all communities in the formulation, implementation and evaluation of policies and practices, urban management becomes more inclusive, adequate, transparent and efficient. As such city governance contributes to the creation of a democratic environment in which all citizens may actively participate in building their own urban environment and the city as a whole.

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