The Universal Periodic Review
HRI played a leadership role in civil society’s involvement in the first-ever review of the United States’ human rights record under the UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process. As part of the US Human Rights Network’s UPR Planning Committee, HRI is engaged in ongoing coordination, advocacy and follow-up for the UPR process, including engaging civil society in the process both at the U.N. in Geneva and domestically.
The U.S. Review took place in Geneva on November 5, 2010. HRI’s Risa Kaufman and JoAnn Kamuf Ward were among over 70 representatives from US civil society who traveled to Geneva for the Review. In conjunction with the Review, HRI made presentations at educational side events and participated in a Town Hall meeting with the US Delegation.
As part of ongoing efforts to ensure that the UPR recommendations translate into strengthened human rights protections in the United States, HRI coordinated a joint letter from the BHRH Treaty Ratification Working Group to the Administration addressing the treaty ratification and implementation recommendations made during the Review and suggesting plan of action for moving toward the goal of ratification of core human rights treaties.
Prior to the November 5th review, at the request of the U.S. State Department, HRI hosted the New York consultation between civil society and the Obama Administration for the UPR at Columbia Law School on February 26, 2010. The written statements from consultation participants can be found here. Shortly after the UPR review in late 2010, the U.S. Department of State published an article on their engagement with the UPR process.
Also in advance of the US review, civil society organizations submitted 26 cluster reports on a range of issues including migrant rights, the right to adequate housing, the right to work with dignity, LGBT rights, discrimination, criminal justice and rights of persons with disabilities. The U.S. Human Rights Network published a compilation of these reports, available here. The Human Rights Institute coordinated a cluster report on treaty ratification and implementation that can be viewed here.
In August of 2011, HRI published a toolkit for state and local human rights and human relations committees on implementing the recommendations from the UPR.