ACLU Calls for United States to Respect Universal Human Rights at Home and Abroad

April 1, 2005 12:00 am

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Delegation to Attend UN Commission on Human Rights to Press for Accountability

GENEVA — A delegation of attorneys from the American Civil Liberties Union arrived in Geneva this morning to attend the 61st meeting of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights. The delegation seeks to bring issues of torture and detention, racial profiling and the exploitation of migrant domestic workers in the U.S. to the Commission’s attention.

“If the U.S. government truly wants to be a beacon of liberty and freedom around the world, it must abide by the same universal human rights principles it requires of the rest of the world,” said Ann Beeson, ACLU Associate Legal Director.

The U.N. Commission on Human Rights was established in 1946 to monitor and uphold universal human rights standards around the world. The Commission’s 53 member states meet for six weeks every year and act as a forum in which countries large and small, non-governmental groups and human rights defenders from around the world can voice their human rights concerns. The Commission has created independent procedures and mechanisms directed by renowned international human rights experts mandated to examine, monitor and publicly report on human rights situations in specific countries or territories and on major phenomena of human rights violations worldwide.

“While we support calls to reform the Commission, it remains an important forum to review human rights abuses and hold governments accountable through its highly independent and credible human rights mechanisms,” said Jamil Dakwar a senior human rights attorney with the ACLU. “All nations, without exception, should work to uphold universal human rights in all places, at all times.”

The ACLU is attending the meetings of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights as a non-governmental organization in a special consultative status to the United Nations. The ACLU delegation includes: Ann Beeson, Associate Legal Director, ACLU; Jamil Dakwar, senior attorney, ACLU Human Rights Working Group; Lenora Lapidus, Director, ACLU Women’s Rights Project; Jameel Jaffer, staff attorney, ACLU National Security Working Group; Claudia Flores, staff attorney, ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project; and LaShawn Warren, ACLU Legislative Counsel.

The ACLU recently created a new Human Rights Working Group specifically dedicated to holding the U.S. government accountable to universally recognized human rights principles. The Human Rights Working Group is charged with incorporating international human rights strategies into ACLU advocacy on issues relating to national security, immigrants’ rights, women’s rights, and racial justice.

The ACLU is a national, non-partisan non-governmental organization with more than 400,000 members dedicated to protecting the individual liberties, rights and freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution, laws, and treaties of the United States. The ACLU was founded in 1920 and is now the largest U.S.-based civil liberties organization. It has offices in all 50 states and employs over 150 permanent staff attorneys and 2,000 cooperating attorneys, litigating over 6,000 cases annually.

Biographical sketches for members of the delegation are available on line at /node/25633.

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