[News] Human Rights Report: US Covers Up Reality of Discrimination in America

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Dec 11 11:59:27 EST 2007

DECEMBER 10, 2007
9:54 AM

CONTACT:<http://www.ushrnetwork.org/> US Human Rights Network
Ateqah Khaki and David Lerner, Riptide Communications, 212-260-5000

Human Rights Group Says US Report On Race Covers 
Up Reality of Discrimination in America

Human Rights Network Issues "Shadow Report" to UN 
Committee Report Challenging State Department View

NEW YORK - December 10 - A report released today 
by the US Human Rights Network (USHRN), a 
coalition of over 250 social justice and human 
rights groups across the country, charged the 
Bush Administration with failing to comply with 
its obligations under the International 
Convention on the Elimination of all forms of 
Racial Discrimination (ICERD), an international 
treaty that carries the force of law in the 
United States. The report, known as a shadow 
report, was filed with the United Nations 
committee that monitors compliance with the treaty based in Geneva.

"Our analysis reveals that the Bush 
Administration is utterly out of touch with the 
reality of racial discrimination in America," 
said Ajamu Baraka, the Executive Director of the 
USHRN. "From failing to address the chronic 
persistence of structural racism to even 
acknowledging the disparate racial impact on 
people of color of Hurricane Katrina, the State 
Department reports reads like a fantasy; 
unfortunately a fantasy that is to often 
experienced as a nightmare for American's of color," he added.

The Convention, adopted by the United States in 
1969, requires signatory countries to 
periodically report on their progress in 
identifying, correcting, and remedying racism and 
racial discrimination. The U.S. quietly submitted 
a report to the U.N. Committee that monitors 
compliance with the Convention last spring. Lisa 
Crooms, a Howard University law professor, and an 
author of the USHRN report says the State 
Department report "blatantly overlooks and 
misrepresents ongoing racial disparities and 
discrimination in the US." Among the concerns 
identified in the USHRN analysis are:

      •     The U.S. government's report does not 
mention the internationally recognized race and 
poverty related impacts of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.
      •     The report completely ignores the 
issue of policy brutality, recognized by many 
Americans as one of the most blatant and common 
forms of ongoing differential treatment based on race.
      •     The report does not discuss the well 
documented "school to prison pipeline," in which 
discriminatorily applied "zero tolerance" 
policies and criminal justice based responses to 
overcrowding and under resourcing of public 
schools drive children of color out of schools and into the prison system
      •     Required to provide information about 
compliance with the Convention at the State 
level, the government only chose to provide 
comprehensive information on four states: Oregon, 
South Carolina, Illinois and New Mexico, notably 
overlooking States with some of the country's 
largest populations of people of color and 
immigrants, such as New York, California, Texas 
and Florida, as well as the Gulf Coast States victimized by Katrina.
      •     The government's report suggests that 
stark racial disparities in incarceration rates 
(African Americans and Latino/as make up 60% of 
the over 2 million people incarcerated in the 
United States, but less than a quarter of the 
population) may be "related to differential 
involvement in crime" rather than a result of the 
cumulative impacts of racial disparities in the 
treatment of minorities at every stage of the 
criminal justice process. Adding insult to 
injury, the U.S. report fails to cite evidence 
that rates of involvement in many criminalized 
activities, including drug use, are actually very similar across race.
      •     The report highlights training and 
outreach programs for law enforcement agencies 
encouraging sensitivity to Arab and Muslim 
communities developed in the aftermath of 9/11, 
while completely failing to acknowledge 
widespread racially and ethnically targeted law 
enforcement practices such as the special 
registration program and aggressive round-ups and 
interviews of thousands of non-citizen Muslims, Arabs and South Asians.
      •     Indigenous people continue to suffer 
profound and ongoing effects of the legacy of 
colonialism and racial discrimination in the U.S.

The report was simultaneously submitted, on 
behalf national, state and local organizations 
from across the country, to the U.N. Committee 
today. The same committee will be questioning the 
U.S. government on its compliance with its 
obligations under the Convention early next year, 
as a counterpoint to the U.S. report.

To view a copy of the shadow report submitted by 
the US Human Rights Network, please visit:


The US Human Rights Network was formed to promote 
US accountability to universal human rights 
standards by building linkages between 
organizations and individuals. The Network 
strives to build a human rights culture in the 
United States that puts those directly affected 
by human rights violations, with a special 
emphasis on grassroots organizations and social 
movements, in a central leadership role. The 
Network also works towards connecting the US 
human rights movement with the broader US social 
justice movement and human rights movements 
around the world. To learn more, please visit: http://www.ushrnetwork.org

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