ACLU Urges Biden Administration to Prioritize Human Rights in Domestic Policy Following Uncontested Election to United Nations Human Rights Council

October 14, 2021 11:45 am

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NEW YORK — The United States was elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council for the Western group in an uncontested election today, more than three years after the Trump administration withdrew from the council.

The election to the world’s highest human rights body follows U.S. reengagement with the council earlier this year as an observer. President Biden during his presidential campaign promised to reestablish relations with international partners and center human rights at home and abroad under his administration and to lead by the power of example.

However, despite the election to the council, the United States’ human rights record remains very problematic, not least because the country hasn’t yet ratified or fully implemented key international human rights treaties and failed to implement recommendations made by regional and global human rights bodies.

In response to the election, the American Civil Liberties Union is calling on the Biden administration to:

  • Create a permanent federal interagency body to implement human rights obligations at all levels of government;
  • Develop a plan of action to dismantle systemic racism and fully implement our international racial justice obligations under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination; and
  • Establish a National Human Rights Institution to monitor, document, investigate and protect human rights here at home.

Jamil Dakwar, director of the ACLU Human Rights Program, said:

“It’s encouraging to see the United States reengage on international human rights under the Biden administration, but the tough work still lies ahead. The United States’ uncontested election to the Human Rights Council doesn’t change the fact that we lag far behind on our international human rights obligations.

“From ending mass incarceration to dismantling systemic racism to protecting immigrants’ rights, the Biden administration must take bold action to advance human rights and racial justice at home and abroad. Rhetoric and symbolic gestures are not enough, it’s time for the United States to step up and prioritize human rights in domestic policy.”

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