UNHRC Recommends the United States Establish a National Human Rights Body

Posted by Melanie Nathan, May 21, 2015.

IMG_7867fiI am posting this Williams Institute report which links to the UNHRC Report.  What stood out for me important to note in this report is the recommendation – “One recommendation asked the U.S. to ensure that religious exemptions are regulated to protect the human rights of LGBT people.”  What I find reprehensible is the fact that our very own LGBT organizations, including The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), which claims to be our most prominent, boasting the most membership, actually participated in the promotion of the ENDA legislation while it supported extremely onerous religious exemptions.

Nothing, other than a few protests, has been done to hold our own LGBT supporters of such legislation accountable.  Some organizations came around to seeing the harm only after many months of ignoring grass root activists who denounced the religious exemptions.  It took the Hobby Lobby case to wake up those who eventually issued a statement pulling out of their support of ENDA with those religious exemptions.    PLEASE READ MORE on HRC’s Support of Onerous Religious Exemptions in ENDA.

The Article by Andrew Park of Williams Institute: May 2015

On May 15, 2015, the Human Rights Council of the United Nations issued a draft report with a series of recommendations to the United States government to rectify human rights violations. Every four years, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) reviews the human rights record of each country. The review of the U.S. began in fall 2014 and involved many months of data collection by the U.N. and testimony by hundreds of participants. In early May, the U.S. sent a delegation of 22 high level officials to the U.N. for formal review session. This draft report is a result of that session.

In fall 2014, the Williams Institute provided testimony to the U.S. Departments of State and Justice, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as the embassies of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Cuba, Mexico, Paraguay, Japan, Republic of Korea, France, Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands. In its testimony, the Williams Institute provided a summary of research on legal and economic disparities faced by LGBT Americans, as well as a recommendations of how the U.S. could achieve better compliance with international human rights law. In particular, the Williams Institute concluded that international standards require legal prohibition of discrimination, more efforts to respond to hate crimes and economic disparities, and the establishment of an agency in the United States to monitor and investigate human rights violations.

As part of this process, in February 2015, the Office of the United National High Commission for Human Rights issued its own set of reports for members of the UNHRC. The High Commissioner’s report cited the Williams Institute’s analysis regarding anti-discrimination laws, hate-crimes, and recognition of same-sex relationships.

In the draft final report of the UNHRC issued on May 15, the recommendations included a wide range of issues, including a strong focus on concerns of racial discrimination, police misconduct, electronic surveillance, and treatment of the homeless. Several countries recommended that the U.S. heighten efforts to respond to discrimination of LGBT people. One recommendation asked the U.S. to ensure that religious exemptions are regulated to protect the human rights of LGBT people.

Twenty-two countries recommended that the U.S. establish an independent federal agency to monitor and investigate human rights violations. In its testimony, the Williams Institute concluded that such an agency was required by the “Paris Principles,” a specific set of international rules concerning the enforcement of human rights standards. Such an agency would have independent authority to investigate human rights claims and to collect data about disparities faced by the LGBT population in the workplace, in schools, in healthcare settings, among others. Roughly 100 countries have such an agency, as recognized by the U.N. The U.S. does not.

Andrew Park, Director of International Program, also chaired the LGBT Task Force of the U.S. Human Right Network, which coordinated the participation of many of the organizations providing testimony to the U.N.

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2 thoughts on “UNHRC Recommends the United States Establish a National Human Rights Body

  1. Same-sex marriage is so new I haven’t gotten used to it to be outraged by the bigotry. I guess I’m simply used to the absurdity that people cannot differentiate between the public sphere and the private sphere and stop trying to regulate who people are, or what they do in private. It’s just background noise. Yes, it is a form of “sex discrimination,” as Chief Justice Roberts said, and it doesn’t even pass the “rational basis” test.

    I’m honestly more offended by another example: these laws legalize discrimination against ethnic minorities. They literally bring back the affects of anti-mysogeny laws. Under these laws, it’s perfectly alright for a racist to say, “I believe God does not approve of people marrying outside of their race,” or “God does not want me to serve black people.” Here in Columbus, Georgia, we have “Ezell’s.” There’s one in Phenix City, as well. A few years ago, we started seeing complaints that the owner was really bad to black Americans because he just didn’t want them in his restaurant. Our legal office took in several complaints, unfortunately, no one seems to have done anything to stop him, so those of us opposed to racism just don’t eat there. I was not part of this legal office, then, but I LOOK FORWARD to taking one of those cases! His Yelp reviews all show what he has done.

    The Court has ruled that the government may regulate commerce – it’s in that Constitution thingy, I hear, and that they may set rules, when they have a compelling interest. Courts have also ruled that ending discrimination is a compelling interest. These people simply do not want to recognize that we should not be discriminated against. In doing so, they’ve effectively handed us nation-wide same-sex marriages, an end to DOMA as well as don’t ask/don’t tell.

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