Presentation on theme: "Using Human Rights to Advance Racial Justice The International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination Oklahoma City, Oklahoma."— Presentation transcript:
Using Human Rights to Advance Racial Justice The International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination Oklahoma City, Oklahoma October 20, 2012 Co-Hosted by USHRN Member, IITC
CERD: A Unique Opportunity Human Rights TreatyRatification Status International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) Ratified in 1992 International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) Ratified in 1994 International Convention Against Torture and other cruel, Inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (CAT) Ratified in 1994 The International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination (“ICERD” or “CERD”) is one of the few human rights treaties ratified by the United States.
What the US has not Ratified Human Rights TreatyRatification Status International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) International Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of all Migrant Workers and Members of their Families Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
Using CERD to fight for Racial Justice o In 2007 and 2008, the US Human Rights Network coordinated the submission of 32 shadow reports to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD or “CERD Committee”). The US Human Rights Network also facilitated the participation of over 100 racial justice and social justice groups to participate in the shadow reporting and review process.
Examples of Shadow Reports INDIGENOUS PEOPLES -Western Shoshone -American Indian Boarding Schools CRIMINAL COURTS JUVENILE JUSTICE POLICE BRUTALITY PRISONS EDUCATION HOUSING DISCRIMINATION HOMELESSNESS HEALTH
Why CERD? Fighting US Exceptionalism Higher standards of accountability An alternative to domestic remedies Exposure and Shaming
The Power of Exposure “The strength of U.S. racism resides in the capacity of the state to sustain and justify, in different historic periods, the economic, social, political, and cultural privilege of the white majority, while simultaneously burnishing its image as the world’s most advanced democracy” Linda Burnham, 2000
Moving Forward The Committee further recommends that the State party allocate sufficient resources to ensure legal representation of indigent persons belonging to racial, ethnic and national minorities in civil proceedings, with particular regard to those proceedings where basic human needs, such as housing, health care, or child custody, are at stake. (#22) The Committee further recommends that the State party recognize the right of Native Americans to participate in decisions affecting them, and consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned before adopting and implementing any activity in areas of spiritual and cultural significance to Native Americans. (#29)
Although human rights are universally accepted and are the primary responsibility of governments, individuals have the obligation to monitor and put pressure on governments to protect and fulfill those rights. There is no one way to realize human rights, it takes innovation and collective strategies to build systemic change and we hope that our discussions today will put us on that path. Civil Society In Action