U.S. Participates In United Nations Human Rights Review Process

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Robyn Shepherd, (212) 519-7829 or 549-2666; media@aclu.org

U.S. Participates In United Nations Human Rights Review Process

Government Consults With Civil Society To Prepare Report On Human Rights Record

WASHINGTON - For
the first time, the U.S. is participating in a process that allows the
United Nations to review the human rights records of all member states.
The first step of that process began today with consultations by U.S.
government officials with civil society in New Orleans and across the
Gulf Coast. Similar consultations will take place around the country
for the next few months in order to prepare the U.S. report to the U.N.
Human Rights Council this summer. The Council is expected to review the
U.S. report in December and issue a report in early 2011.

The American Civil Liberties Union
of Mississippi will be taking part in today's consultations in New
Orleans, primarily addressing issues related to criminal justice and
post-Katrina reconstruction efforts. The ACLU and its affiliates will
also play roles in upcoming consultations in New York, Alabama, New
Mexico, California, Michigan, Texas and Washington, D.C., addressing a
range of human rights issues affecting millions of people in the United
States.

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR)
process was introduced with the formation of the U.N. Human Rights
Council in 2006. Each U.N. member state's human rights record will be
reviewed by three of its peers who will review all human rights
obligations and commitments to which the member state is a party, as
well as any voluntary pledges and commitments made by that country.
Last year, the U.S. formally joined the Human Rights Council and
pledged to respect and promote human rights at home and abroad.  

The following can be attributed to Jamil Dakwar, Director of the ACLU Human Rights Program:

"Today is the first step in a
process that hopefully will bring U.S. policies in line with
international human rights standards. The Obama administration will
have the opportunity to hear directly from affected communities about
human rights concerns and find workable solutions. This process also
provides an opportunity to spotlight domestic human rights issues and
offers a chance to hold local, state and federal governments to human
rights obligations and commitments. This administration has repeatedly
stated that human rights at home and abroad are a priority. We look
forward to working with government representatives to evaluate the U.S.
human rights record and helping to find solutions where improvements
must be made, including the creation of a much-needed human rights
infrastructure."

For more information about the UPR, please visit:
www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/BasicFacts.aspx
www.state.gov/g/drl/upr/130574.htm

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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

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