U.N. Human Rights Council Issues Recommendations To U.S.

GENEVA–(ENEWSPF)–November 9, 2010.  The U.N. Human Rights Council (HRC) today issued a set of recommendations for the United States to bring its human rights policies and practices in line with international standards. The recommendations are the result of the first-ever participation by the U.S. in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process, which involves a thorough assessment of a nation’s human rights record. The American Civil Liberties Union, which was in Geneva last week to observe the UPR process, welcomed U.S. participation as an important step toward protecting human rights at home.

The following can be attributed to Laura W. Murphy, Director of the Washington Legislative Office:

“The UPR process provides an opportunity for the United States to identify human rights violations, develop real solutions and bring our policies in line with international human rights standards. The Obama administration should set a good example by working with Congress and state and local governments to translate human rights commitments into domestic laws and policies that will have a positive impact on all people in America.”

The following can be attributed to Jamil Dakwar, Director of the ACLU Human Rights Program:

“While the Obama administration should be commended for its participation in the UPR, in order to lead by example, this international engagement must be followed by concrete domestic policies and actions and a commitment to fixing all domestic human rights abuses. The administration must take immediate and specific presidential actions to ensure domestic human rights are effectively monitored and enforced within the United States.”

The ACLU called on the government to heed the recommendations of the HRC, including to:

  • ensure accountability for not just the interrogators who used torture but also the senior Bush administration officials who authorized it, provide reparations for victims of torture, close Guantánamo and end indefinite detention without charge or trial, and end the discredited military commissions;
  • end racial and ethnic profiling, especially in the enforcement of immigration laws – including the termination of Secure Communities and 287(g) programs;
  • impose a federal moratorium on the death penalty as a first step towards nationwide abolition, and address serious flaws in the administration of the death penalty including racial bias, under-funded indigent defense programs, conditions on death row and a lack of full access to federal courts;
  • take concrete steps to ratify human rights treaties, especially the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities;
  • take concrete measures to address racial and ethnic disparities in the criminal justice system, including the disproportionate representation of minorities and inhumane prison conditions;
  • enhance efforts to address disparities in access to social and economic rights and take concrete and effective measures to ensure that minorities enjoy equal access to quality education, health care and housing;
  • establish a national civil and human rights commission by transforming the existing U.S. commission on civil rights into an independent human rights monitoring body; and
  • issue an executive order on human rights to effectively and transparently coordinate U.S. follow-up on the UPR recommendations, as well as full implementation of ratified treaties including the Race Convention, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention against Torture on the federal, state and local levels.