For Immediate Release
Amnesty International Urges United States to Address United Nations' Concerns Over Human Rights Obligations at First Review of U.S. Record
Member States Support Call for U.S. Human Rights Improvements Across the Board: on Women's Rights, Torture, Death Penalty
GENEVA - Cristina Finch,
Amnesty International USA Government Relations Director, made the following
comments today, at the conclusion of the first Universal Periodic
Review of the United States' record on international human rights obligations
before the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva:
"Today's review session clearly shows
the deficiencies in the human rights record of the United States and the
need for the government to take bold steps to improve its record,"
said Finch, who attended the hearing. "The Obama administration has
reengaged on human rights and for this we are grateful. But the facts
speak for themselves; it is vital that the United States rebuild its leadership
on human rights. The United States cannot take other countries to
task for human rights abuses, when its own record at home falls short."
"To demonstrate its commitment to rebuilding
a robust framework for human rights, Amnesty International urges President
Obama to issue a comprehensive Executive Order that would integrate the
United States' human rights commitments throughout all of the agencies
of the government. The Executive Order would address the human rights obligations
of the United States and put concrete action behind President Obama's recognition
that human rights begin at home.”
“United Nations' member states told the
U.S. delegation in Geneva of their concerns about the death penalty in
the United States and urged that this cruel and unusual punishment be abolished.
Other countries also pointed to the inconsistency of the United States
having played an important role in drafting the Convention on the Elimination
of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) yet today remains
one of only seven countries worldwide to have failed to ratify it. The
Obama administration has said it strongly supports ratification. Now,
it must work with the Senate to put that support into action."
"Amnesty International has called on
the U.S. government to end indefinite detention of prisoners and trials
before military commissions in Guantanamo. In addition, the United
States must hold those responsible for torture accountable. These
recommendations must be at the heart of rebuilding the United States' human
Senior government officials appeared before
the Human Rights Council to offer the self-evaluation in Geneva. Member
states presented questions, concerns and recommendations to the U.S. delegation.
The United States must respond to the recommendations raised during the
review by Tuesday. The Council will then issue a report with final adoption
scheduled for next March.
Amnesty International submitted recommendations
to the Human Rights Council for improvements in the U.S. record on a range
of issues, including accountability for torture commit ted in the war on
terror, a moratorium on the death penalty with a view toward abolishing
it, treatment of migrants held in custody, post-Hurricane Katrina issues,
spiraling rates of maternal deaths and violence against women and U.S.
adoption and adherence to international laws and standards.
The recommendations are available at the
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