Coalition of Civil and Human Rights Organizations Calls on President Obama to Live Up to Peace Prize By Fulfilling Human Rights Commitments Here At Home

Dec 09, 2009, 15:41 ET from Campaign for a New Domestic Human Rights Agenda

'Call to Action' Must Include Translating Our Domestic Human Rights Obligations From Rhetoric Into Reality

WASHINGTON, Dec. 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, across the ocean, President Obama is accepting the Nobel Peace Prize which he has described as a "call to action." The Campaign for a New Domestic Human Rights Agenda is calling on President Obama to heed the call by taking concrete actions to reaffirm the United States' longstanding bipartisan commitment to human rights right here at home.

"Human Rights Day is more that a just a day to remember a document created more than 60 years ago. It is a day to remember and recognize the people all across America whose human rights are still being violated and to call on President Obama and Congress to make sure that the United States is living up to all of our domestic human rights obligations," said Lisa Crooms, Chair of the Steering Committee for the Campaign for a New Domestic Human Rights Agenda.

The Campaign is urging the Obama administration to translate our country's human rights commitments from rhetoric into reality by building and incorporating human rights principles into domestic policies and into the way government operates throughout federal agencies.

Specifically, the Campaign for a New Domestic Human Rights Agenda calls for the following:

  • The Obama Administration should ensure vigorous interagency coordination in the implementation of U.S. human rights treaty obligations by issuing a new and enhanced Executive Order on Implementation of Human Rights. An active and effective interagency mechanism on human rights would greatly facilitate and enhance the government's efforts to play a leadership role in promoting human rights and the rule of law at home and abroad. There must be transparency and accountability throughout the administration regarding its commitment to human rights.
  • President Obama and Congress should reform and transform the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights into a nonpartisan, independent U.S. Commission on Civil and Human Rights. Expanding the Commission's mandate would enable it to better address the full range of pressing 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.
  • President Obama and Congress should take clear action to fully and effectively implement the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Convention Against Racial Discrimination.) 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 racial issues we still face as a nation.
  • 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. 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. To be effective, federal mechanisms should provide critical support for state and local efforts to incorporate human rights, specifically through dedicated staff, education and training, and funding.

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.

SOURCE Campaign for a New Domestic Human Rights Agenda