U.N. Human Rights Panel Presses U.S. on Drones, NSA, Torture, Discrimination Issues

March 13, 2014 1:57 pm

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ACLU Releases Report Urging U.N. Experts to Update Interpretation on Privacy

March 13, 2014

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GENEVA – Today and tomorrow, the United Nations Human Rights Committee is conducting a review of the United States’ compliance with a major human rights treaty, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). U.S. government representatives are answering questions from committee members on a wide range of issues, including targeted killing, surveillance, accountability for torture, immigration, discrimination, voting rights, and criminal justice. The committee members are independent, world-renowned experts who do not report to individual governments.

“We welcome the U.S. appearance before the committee and hope it will address the serious gaps between rhetoric and practice on human rights,” said ACLU Human Rights Program Director Jamil Dakwar, who is attending the sessions in Switzerland.

“The U.S. shortcomings are highlighted by the committee’s sharp questions on everything from drone killings and NSA surveillance to the humane treatment of immigrants and prisoners, especially discrimination against minorities. The U.S. government now has an opportunity to reverse course, remedy rights violations, and take concrete actions like declassifying the Senate report on CIA torture.”

Also today in Geneva, the ACLU released a report recommending an updated interpretation of the international right to privacy under Article 17 of the ICCPR. The treaty protects everyone from arbitrary or unlawful interferences with their “privacy, family, home or correspondence,” but the last time the U.N. Human Rights Committee defined what this section of the treaty means was in 1988. The purpose of the ACLU’s new analysis is to recommend that the committee consider updating its official interpretation – called a General Comment – to take into account new surveillance technologies.

Today’s report on international privacy rights is at:

More information about this week’s sessions and an ACLU report to the U.N. on the United States’ human rights record is at:

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