Social Inclusion

Social rights bring together numerous rights that must be dealt with at the local level: rights to housing, education, clean water and health care emphasize the role of local authorities as a welfare provider and social provision as a duty which lies within city halls and councils.

Inadequate housing and housing exploitation (the Right to Housing is UN-HABITAT main mandate), limited access to social services such as health or education, and when accessible, services that mostly reflect the needs of host populations.

Benefits for the host city
Despite migrants adding pressure to social services, the exchange of service provision for an extended tax base must be emphasized. Welfare through work can help boost local tax remittance and discourage illegal employment and exploitation. The city’s image is improved, opening up excluded neighbourhoods and improving the standards of living both for skilled and non-skilled migrants.

What can be done?
To ensure the social rights of international migrants, local authorities are responsible for providing basic social services for all inhabitants, guaranteeing equity of access and treatment. Urban inclusive governance has to ensure social rights for migrants to adequate housing, education, health and social care, welfare and decent standard of living according to basic needs such as food, energy and water.

Examples of good practice

Migrant Helpdesk, Johannesburg, South Africa
The Migrant Helpdesk in Johannesburg is an information service that helps migrants to access government services such as healthcare, accommodation and education, and to obtain information on their rights.

New Arrival Information Centre, Edmonton, Canada
Centrally located on the main floor of City Hall in downtown Edmonton, the Centre offers assistance in over 150 languages for new arrivals who can talk with an agent and pick up information on : city services, community services, education, accommodation and housing, health and social services, etc.
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The citizenU program of Vancouver, Canada
The citizenU program is based on empowering minorities and immigrants, and fostering citizenship and social integration with the help of partnerships between local public institutions, civil society, city government and businesses. Through intensive workshops, citizenU plans to train as many as 4,000 youth in leadership skills, project development and interfaith activities with the support of the City Hall, the school and park boards, private businesses, community groups, families and individuals. All young people that participate in the program will also be able to join internship programs run by the city, government agencies, businesses and community organizations.

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