U.N. panel urged to demand that United States improve its record on human rights

Posted on 20 Jul 2006 at 4:29pm
By Dennis Vercher – Staff Writer

Group claims nation is not in compliance with its obligations under the 1992 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights



Salih Booker

Foreign and domestic civil rights groups are urging a United Nations panel to demand that the U.S. government improve its record on human rights.

One group, Global Rights, said the United States is not in compliance with its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ratified in 1992.

“We’re calling for the United States government to uphold its commitments to the international human rights standards it helped develop,” Salih Booker, executive director of Global Rights, said.

The group released a report titled “Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender and Intersex Human Rights in the United States” on Monday, the day U.S. officials were due for two days of testimony and questioning by the U.N. Human Rights Committee, which is meeting in Geneva.

The organization also released reports criticizing the United States in the areas of the right to vote and workers’ rights.

“Unfortunately for many people in the U.S., protection of civil and political rights is still just a dream,” said Margaret Huang, director of the U.S. program for Global Rights.

A group of nearly 150 domestic GLBT groups participated in a separate report addressing the nation’s record on GLBT rights. The report was submitted last month to the Human Rights Committee for use during the session that began Monday.

“The reason so many organizations contributed information to the U.N. committee is because of the serious human rights violations taking place, particularly those targeting certain communities based on race, sex, gender or sexual orientation,” Booker said.

The groups claimed that the U.S. government’s report which was issued seven years after the deadline glossed over human rights violations that occurred within the nation’s borders. Instead, the activists claimed, the report touted the government’s record as exemplary rather than problematic.

“When a lesbian is fired because of her sexual orientation, when police refuse to investigate or prosecute gay-bashing hate crimes, or when transgender Americans are denied basic respect and are subjected to police harassment, the United States violates its international legal commitments,” said Mark Bromley, director for policy and government relations. “It also sets a mean-spirited example for other human rights abusers around the world.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, July 21, 2006.

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