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U.N. Independent Expert Recommends Remedies for U.S. Race Relations

By Nicole Kief, ACLU at 5:32pm

"The historical, cultural and human depth of racism still permeates all dimensions of life in American society," says Doudou Diène, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.

Diène, a Senegalese attorney appointed to his post by the United Nations Human Rights Council, toured the United States last year for approximately three weeks, meeting with local, state and federal officials and non-governmental organizations, including the ACLU. He just issued a report of his findings based on that visit.

Given that his mandate spans the globe, Diène's recommendations for the U.S. are remarkably spot-on. For instance, to remedy racial discrimination in law enforcement — where "instances of direct discrimination and concrete bias...are most pronounced" — Diène suggests the U.S. should adopt the federal End Racial Profiling Act, pass state legislation prohibiting racial profiling, and take other steps to monitor and address profiling by police. The U.S. should also review mandatory minimum sentences, improve public defender services, and eliminate life without parole sentences for people convicted of crimes committed as juveniles, all of which contribute to the over-criminalization of people of color.

Not Another Voter Disfranchisement Movie

By Nicole Kief, ACLU at 3:08pm

(Originally posted on Daily Kos.)

This election season, untold numbers of eligible voters are at serious risk of being denied access to the polls. Are unfair and unnecessary voter ID laws to blame? Is it because their houses are under foreclosure…

Protecting Small 'D' Democracy and the Right to Vote

By Nicole Kief, ACLU at 4:07pm

(Originally posted on Pam's House Blend).

Isn't the right to vote freely for a candidate of your choosing just that: the right to vote freely for a candidate of your choosing?

Not according to one Virginia legislator, who seemed to…

Be Here, Behave, Be Learning -- Be Sued

By Nicole Kief, ACLU at 4:46pm

Lawsuits certainly have a knack for bringing people-and information-out of the woodworks. In March, the ACLU Racial Justice Program and ACLU of Georgia filed a lawsuit against the Atlanta Independent School System (AISS) and Community Education…

Georgia Erroneously Purges Eligible Voters

By Nicole Kief, ACLU at 11:55am
In late March, Georgia's Columbus-Muscogee County Elections & Registration Office mailed out upwards of 700 letters informing voters they had become ineligible to vote because they had been convicted of felonies. The problem? A potentially large…

Equal Opportunity Foes in Oklahoma Move to Pull Own Petition, Calling It a Waste

By Nicole Kief, ACLU at 11:29am
Equal opportunity foes were dealt a blow last Friday when the proponents of an anti-affirmative action initiative in Oklahoma filed a motion to withdraw their own proposal, stating that the measure likely did not have enough valid signatures to make…
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