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					               The Campaign for a New Domestic Human Rights Agenda


What is the Campaign for a New Domestic Human Rights Agenda?
The Campaign for a New Domestic Human Rights Agenda is a coalition of approximately 50 national U.S.-
based organizations that came together to support human rights at home and abroad soon after the election last
year. Among them are major human rights, civil rights, civil liberties, and social justice groups.

http://www.ushrnetwork.org/new_domestic_human_rights


What is the mission of the Campaign?
The Campaign for a New Domestic Human Rights Agenda is urging the Obama administration to reaffirm the
United States’ longstanding bipartisan commitment to human rights at home and abroad by building human
rights principles into the way government operates throughout federal agencies.
According to a recent poll, Americans define human rights as the rights to equal opportunity, freedom from
discrimination, a fair criminal justice system, and freedom from torture or abuse by law enforcement, but they
also believe meeting people’s basic needs, including healthcare, is a human right. Fully embracing and
claiming ownership of human rights is not only principled, it is pragmatic and smart policy. Ensuring human
rights advances both the United States’ deeply held values and our national interests.

What does the Campaign want?
The Campaign wants to translate our country’s human rights commitments from rhetoric to reality. This will
require the Administration and Congress to take concrete steps to put in place mechanisms that will enhance
both coordination and accountability. To this end, the Campaign for a New Domestic Human Rights Agenda
calls for the following:
 President Obama should issue an Executive Order to reconstitute the Interagency Working Group on
    Human Rights.
        o The Interagency Working Group on Human Rights Treaties was established by President Clinton (by
             Executive Order 13107), but rendered inactive and ineffective by the Bush Administration.
        o A new Interagency Working Group on Human Rights would coordinate the efforts of federal
             agencies and departments to promote and respect human rights in U.S. domestic policy.
        o An Interagency Working Group on Human Rights would better enable the federal government to
             promote its human rights commitments concerning torture, racial profiling, rule of law, and securing
             equality in health care, education, housing, employment, and the criminal justice system.
 President Obama and Congress should strengthen and transform the U.S. Commission on Civil
    Rights into a nonpartisan, independent U.S. Commission on Civil and Human Rights.
        o A nonpartisan and independent U.S. Commission on Civil and Human Rights would support
             government, even while it enjoys more autonomy as an honest broker.
        o A transformed Commission would be invaluable to our government’s efforts to meet its human
             rights treaty obligations under both the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the
             International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

All the polling data is from The Opportunity Agenda, Human Rights in the U.S.: Findings from a National Survey, in HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE
U.S.: OPINION AND RESEARCH WITH ADVOCATES, JOURNALISTS, AND THE GENERAL PUBLIC
12 (Aug. 2007), available at http://www.opportunityagenda.org
               The Campaign for a New Domestic Human Rights Agenda


         o Expanding the Commission’s mandate would enable it to better address the full range of
           contemporary issues, such as access to basic needs, freedom from all forms of discrimination, voting
           rights, protection against torture and other abuse, and a fair criminal justice system.
         o A U.S. Commission on Civil and Human Rights would be able to coordinate and support state and
           local efforts to promote and respect civil and human rights to ensure broad compliance with
           domestic and international obligation by providing the necessary guidance, oversight, and support,
           including financial resources and capacity-building.
   President Obama and Congress should take action to fully and effectively implement the
    International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Convention
    Against Racial Discrimination.)
        o The Convention Against Racial Discrimination is a human rights treaty that requires all ratifying
           nations to condemn racial discrimination, work to eliminate it in all its forms, and promote
           understanding among all races. The United States ratified the Convention Against Racial
           Discrimination in 1994, and at that time, pledged to comply with its terms.
        o Full implementation of the Convention Against Racial Discrimination is part of America’s promise
           to protect equal opportunity for everyone and to better address the full range of issues we still face as
           a nation including access to basic needs, freedom from all forms of discrimination, and a fair
           criminal justice system.
        o The Obama Administration is ultimately responsible for ensuring full and good faith compliance
           with the Convention Against Racial Discrimination, but legislative action is needed to effectively
           implement the Convention’s provisions and promote its full execution.
        o Essential to any enforcement efforts is establishing appropriate mechanisms to ensure accountability
           and a coordinated approach towards the implementation of the Convention at the federal, state and
           local levels.
   President Obama and Congress should institute reforms at the national level to create a better system
    of accountability around the United States’ domestic and international human rights obligations and
    to coordinate and support state and local efforts.
        o There are over 150 state and local government commissions or agencies mandated by state, county
           or city governments to enforce human and civil rights, and/or to conduct research, training and
           public education and issue policy recommendations. They are well positioned to advance human
           rights through vibrant community partnerships and a keen understanding of local communities’
           needs and resources.
        o Many state and local governments and agencies around the country are already using international
           human rights standards to promote equality, dignity, fairness and opportunity in their communities.
        o The federal government should work in coordination with these institutions to ensure broad civil and
           human rights compliance.


For more information about the Campaign for a New Domestic Human Rights Agenda please contact
Lisa Crooms at lcrooms@hotmail.com




All the polling data is from The Opportunity Agenda, Human Rights in the U.S.: Findings from a National Survey, in HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE
U.S.: OPINION AND RESEARCH WITH ADVOCATES, JOURNALISTS, AND THE GENERAL PUBLIC
12 (Aug. 2007), available at http://www.opportunityagenda.org

				
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