Human Rights at Home Campaign & State and Local Government Coordination
HRI advocates for greater coordination of federal, state and local efforts to promote and protect human rights within the United States. The Institute works directly with state and local agencies and officials to build their capacity to implement human rights by raising awareness of U.S. human rights obligations and developing strategies to incorporate human rights locally. HRI also advocates for institutionalized federal support for local efforts, including funding, education and training and dedicated staff.
As part of this work, HRI chairs the Human Rights at Home (HuRAH) Campaign’s State and Local Government Subcommittee, which brings state and local agencies and officials together with advocates to identify and amplify effective human rights strategies and to support the creation of a national human rights infrastructure, including a federal Inter-Agency Working Group on Human Rights and a National Civil and Human Rights Commission.
HRI seeks to effect change through advocacy in domestic and United Nations fora, including treaty reviews and the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process. In these efforts, HRI has developed a strong partnership with the International Association of Official Human Rights Agencies (IAOHRA).
Under the auspices of HuRAH, HRI has released three reports on state and local human rights implementation.
In December 2012, HRI released Bringing Human Rights Home: How State and Local Government Can Use Human Rights to Advance Local Policy. This report, geared toward State and Local policymakers, details over a dozen ways that states, cities, and towns are integrating international human rights principles into local policy and highlights the benefits of a human rights approach. The report offers concrete recommendations to advance local policy using a human rights framework.
Building on the recommendations made during the U.S. UPR, in August of 2011 HRI published a Toolkit for IAOHRA members, detailing how state and local agencies can translate recommendations made to the United States during the UPR into local policy and practice.
In 2009 HRI released State and Local Human Rights Agencies: Recommendations for Advancing Opportunity and Equality through an International Human Rights Framework. Focused on the valuable role of state and local agencies in human rights implementations, this report details human rights standards and strategies and describes how a number of agencies are already using human rights and offers recommendations for advancing human rights here at home.
Building on this research, HRI submitted a shadow report to the UN Human Rights Committee in August 2013 on the U.S. compliance with the ICCPR. Specifically, the shadow report discusses the federal governments obligation to support and promote human rights implementation at the state and local level. The report's recommendations report are reflected in the Committee's 2014 Concluding Observations. In July of 2014, the Institute submitted a similar shadow report on state and local human rights implementation to the UN Human Rights Committee on U.S. compliance with the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discriminatiion.
On July 22, 2014, The Human Rights at Home Campaign's subcommittee on state and local government coordination, in conjunction with the mayoral and state and local agency signatories, sent a letter to Assistant Secretary of State Malinowski, applauding the inclusion of state and local representatives in U.S. delegations to the U.N. and offering several recommendations to strengthen human rights compliance at the state and local level, including dissemination of Concluding Observations from U.N. Treaty Bodies and more robust resources and support for state and local governments.
Mayors are increasingly recognizing how human rights can inform local efforts. In August 2014, Mayor Kitty Piercy emphasized the role of human rights in Crafting Innovative Anti-discrimination Policy Using Human Rights in the U.S. Mayor, emphasizing initiatives related to the Race Convention and the Women's Convention in particular.