The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Rachel Hamrick

Amnesty International, ACLU and The Human Rights At Home Campaign Call on Members and Allies to Urge President Obama to Issue an Executive Order on Human Rights

Call to action sends strong and clear message to the President: “The time for action is now.”


President Obama considers whether to issue an Executive Order (EO) on
human rights, the ACLU, Amnesty International and the Human Rights at
Home Campaign are calling on their members and allies to send a letter
to the President urging him to issue an EO that holds the U.S.
accountable for its domestic human rights commitments.

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 by integrating the U.S.'s
human rights commitments into all of the agencies of the government.

"This Executive Order presents President
Obama with an important opportunity to uphold core American values of
equality and justice for all by building a much-needed human rights
infrastructure here at home," said Jamil Dakwar, Director of the ACLU's
Human Rights Program.

The groups are asking that the Executive Order include meaningful human rights reforms such as:

  • an
    explicit commitment to implement the full spectrum of human rights as
    envisioned in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;
  • mechanisms to ensure human
    rights standards are integrated and enforced across the government,
    which, at a minimum, requires a revitalized and more effective
    Inter-Agency Working Group on Human Rights;
  • human
    rights impact assessments and studies to ensure government policies,
    pending legislation and regulations are consistent with human rights
  • a requirement that Inspectors
    General, civil rights and civil liberties offices within departments,
    and Government Accountability Office incorporate human rights
    obligations and analysis in their reviews and investigations of
    government agencies, policies and programs;
  • a
    plan of action to fully implement and incorporate human rights
    obligations into domestic and foreign policy, including following up on
    recommendations made by human rights bodies such as the U.N. Committee
    on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and the U.N. Human Rights
    Council following the 2010 Universal Periodic Review of the U.S.; and
  • meaningful
    periodic consultations with civil society and enhanced collaboration
    between federal and state and local governments on implementation and
    enforcement of human rights obligations.

time is now for the Obama administration to take new bold steps that
prioritize human rights at home," said Cristina Finch, Government
Relations Director for Amnesty International. "Although
the administration has made positive statements about the
indivisibility of rights and the importance of recognition of economic,
social and cultural rights, there has been no concrete action to fully
incorporate those principles into domestic policies. This is the type of change an Obama presidency promised. This is the hope on which many relied when casting their votes in the 2008 election."

addition to being a major symbolic achievement, issuance of an
executive order sets forth a definitive plan, displays assertive action
and lays the groundwork for the demand that other nations follow our