U.S. Participates In United Nations Human Rights Review Process

January 27, 2010

Government Consults With Civil Society To Prepare Report On Human Rights Record

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: (212) 549-2666; media@aclu.org

NEW YORK – For the first time, the U.S. is participating in a process that allows the United Nations to review the human rights records of all member states. The first step of that process began today with consultations by U.S. government officials with civil society in New Orleans and across the Gulf Coast. Similar consultations will take place around the country for the next few months in order to prepare the U.S. report to the U.N. Human Rights Council this summer. The Council is expected to review the U.S. report in December and issue a report in early 2011.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi will be taking part in today's consultations in New Orleans, primarily addressing issues related to criminal justice and post-Katrina reconstruction efforts. The ACLU and its affiliates will also play roles in upcoming consultations in New York, Alabama, New Mexico, California, Michigan, Texas and Washington, D.C., addressing a range of human rights issues affecting millions of people in the United States.

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process was introduced with the formation of the U.N. Human Rights Council in 2006. Each U.N. member state's human rights record will be reviewed by three of its peers who will review all human rights obligations and commitments to which the member state is a party, as well as any voluntary pledges and commitments made by that country. Last year, the U.S. formally joined the Human Rights Council and pledged to respect and promote human rights at home and abroad.  

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

"Today is the first step in a process that hopefully will bring U.S. policies in line with international human rights standards. The Obama administration will have the opportunity to hear directly from affected communities about human rights concerns and find workable solutions. This process also provides an opportunity to spotlight domestic human rights issues and offers a chance to hold local, state and federal governments to human rights obligations and commitments. This administration has repeatedly stated that human rights at home and abroad are a priority. We look forward to working with government representatives to evaluate the U.S. human rights record and helping to find solutions where improvements must be made, including the creation of a much-needed mechanism within the administration that would hold the U.S. accountable to international human rights standards and commitments."

For more information about the UPR, please visit:
www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/BasicFacts.aspx
www.state.gov/g/drl/upr/130574.htm

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