For Immediate Release
In New York: Riptide Communications (212) 260-5000
US Human Rights Network Urges Obama Administration to Participate in UN Conference on Racism in Geneva
National Rights Group Says Failure to Attend Would Undermine Administration’s Commitment to Dialogue and Diplomacy
at the Durban Review Conference, a follow up to the 2001 World Conference
Against Racism. Now, the international spotlight is on the United States, which has not yet
decided whether to participate in what many diplomats and activists consider
the most important international framework to combat racial discrimination.
Previously, the Obama Administration said it would boycott the summit based on
draft resolutions, which criticized Israel and called for reparations
for slavery. That language has since been deleted from the text.
"If the Obama Administration
is willing to engage in dialogue with avowed enemies such as Iran then surely
it should be willing to engage the international community in a dialogue on
methods and principles to end racism and xenophobia," said Ajamu Baraka, Executive Director of the US Human
Rights Network (USHRN). Baraka noted that the meetings
took on special urgency because, "as
we all know, at time of global and economic crisis, we must make a special effort
to protect the human rights of groups most vulnerable to racial discrimination
The Durban Review Conference is intended to assess and advance the
implementation of the measures established by the Durban Declaration and
Program of Action, which was adopted by the 2001 Conference. It also
seeks to promote the universal ratification and implementation of the
International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial
Discrimination (CERD), an international treaty ratified by the U.S. in 1994, which carries the force of law in
the United States.
The USHRN has been an advocate of
compliance with the Treaty and submitted a shadow report to the committee that
monitors compliance with CERD by signatory states. In March of 2007 the
USHRN attended the committee hearing, where it critiqued Bush Administration
officials for violating the terms of CERD. Network officials, including
Mr. Baraka, will be present in Geneva
for the Durban Review Conference meetings.
Ajamu Baraka is now
available for interview. For
more information, please contact, Riptide Communications, Inc.
The US Human Rights Network was formed to promote US accountability to universal human rights standards by building linkages between organizations and individuals. The Network strives to build a human rights culture in the United States that puts those directly affected by human rights violations, with a special emphasis on grassroots organizations and social movements, in a central leadership role. The Network also works towards connecting the US human rights movement with the broader US social justice movement and human rights movements around the world. To learn more, please visit: http://www.ushrnetwork.org