Racial Justice and the Human Rights Program

The ACLU Human Rights Program uses human rights standards and strategies to complement ACLU legal and legislative advocacy and to advance social justice in the area of racial justice

Key Human Rights Treaties

The United States signed and ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) in 1994. All levels of U.S. government are required to comply with the treaty’s provisions, which require countries to review national, state-wide and local policies and to amend or repeal laws and regulations that create or perpetuate racial discrimination.  CERD also encourages countries to take positive measures, including affirmative action, to redress racial inequalities. To comply with the treaty, the U.S. should work to ensure the full enjoyment of human rights by members of minority groups; to eliminate structural racism, sexism and institutional exclusion; and expand its use in redressing past discrimination suffered by minorities including women and indigenous communities, particularly in the areas of education and employment. To conform with both the Constitution and international human rights obligations, the U.S. must also take urgent, direct action to eliminate racial and ethnic profiling which remains a widespread and pervasive problem throughout the country.

Working together with the ACLU Racial Justice Project, HRP works to promote a racial justice agenda that respects civil and human rights by:

·         Publishing reports and briefing materials using the CERD framework to advance racial justice in the U.S.;
·         incorporating human rights standards in litigation and state and federal legislative advocacy; and
·         engaging with the United States before U.N. and regional human rights fora.

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