Co-Chair Jim McGovern Recognizes Potential for Improvements in U.S. Human Rights Record at UN
Co-Chairman Jim McGovern today thanked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner, the Department of Justice and a range of other executive agencies involved in compiling the just released U.S. report on the human rights situation in the United States. The 29-page-long report is officially entitled Report of the United States of America Submitted to the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights In Conjunction with the Universal Periodic Review.
Under a procedure known as the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), each Member State of the United Nations is required to formally report on its human rights situation and submit itself to a peer-review process occurring every 4 years. The U.S. is scheduled to give its formal presentation at the United Nations on November 5, 2010.
Said Congressman McGovern: “The just-released UPR Report to the U.N. will have to be measured against the extremely high and self-imposed expectations expressed by Administration officials during the drafting process that this report was not only intended to give a fair and accurate accounting of the human rights situation in the United States, but that the report itself shall serve as the ‘gold standard’ for human rights reporting to other countries. While there will always be room for improvements, the report clearly reflects the sincere commitment of the Administration to come as close to those expectations as possible. The lengthy and in-depth consultation process, which took place in several cities and towns all over the United States, the input of countless NGOs and individuals, as well as that of a cross-section of our Executive Agencies, resulted in a broad analysis under the leadership of our Secretary of State, the State Department’s Human Rights Office, and the Justice Department.
“I am pleased to see that the Administration reported on a wide variety of issues, ranging from freedom of expression, religion, association and political participation to education, health, housing and the penal system. I urge the Administration to elevate and pay more attention to the issue of hunger and malnutrition of our children, which the report touches on only cursorily. I commend the Administration for recognizing human rights as one body of rights that includes all civil and political rights, as well as economic, social and cultural rights. Only a frank and open discussion of our burning human rights problems, such as Guantanamo, the growing economic divide, racial discrimination, the unequal implementation of the death penalty, and the violence and situation in our prisons, can move our country forward. Such transparency can win the support of our friends and allies in those areas, where we need their support, such as the announced, but as of yet unfulfilled, closure of Guantanamo Bay.”