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Jennifer Prestholdt                                             Michele Garnett McKenzie

Deputy Director                                                Advocacy Director

(w) 612-341-3302, ext. 111                                (w) 612-341-3302 ext. 117

jprestholdt@advrights.org                                   mmckenzie@advrights.org



U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee to Hold Hearing on Implementation of Human Rights Treaties


Minneapolis / St. Paul, MN (December 15, 2009) – The U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law will hold a hearing entitled “The Law of the Land: U.S. Implementation of Human Rights Treaties” on Wednesday, December 16, 2009 at 10:30 am EST (9:30 am CST). The Advocates for Human Rights has submitted a statement for the record to draw the Committee’s attention to specific gaps in the domestic implementation of international human rights treaty obligations related to 1) protection for refugees, asylum seekers and migrants and 2) the administration of the death penalty in the United States. The Advocates also submitted recommendations regarding action to bring the U.S. into compliance with international human rights treaty obligations. In addition, The Advocates will submit a statement on U.S. violations of international obligations related to sex trafficking.


This hearing is historic, as it marks the first oversight hearing on human rights treaty implementation since the U.S. ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and other treaties. The Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Rule of Law is chaired by Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL); Senator Al Franken of Minnesota also sits on the Committee. The hearing will focus on the U.S. government’s implementation of human rights treaties to which it is a party, including the ICCPR, the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the Convention Against Torture, the Genocide Convention, the Refugee Protocol, the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on Children in Armed Conflict, and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on Child Prostitution. This hearing will examine what the U.S. government is doing and what more it could do to fulfill its treaty obligations to protect and promote human rights. The hearing can be viewed via be webcast at http://judiciary.senate.gov/hearings/hearing.cfm?id=4224.


The Advocates’ written statement draws the Subcommittee’s attention to U.S. areas in immigration law and policy where the U.S. fails to provide adequate protections for family unity, for individuals fleeing torture and persecution who fear return, and for refugees who provided “material support” under duress or coercion. Further U.S. immigration laws impose mandatory detention of some refugees and asylum seekers, as well as prolonged detention, in conditions that violate international treaty obligations. The use of capital punishment in the U.S., including persistent and significant racial disparities with regard to the imposition of the death penalty, is also a violation of international treaty obligations. The full text of The Advocates statement can be found at www.theadvocatesforhumanrights.org.


The Advocates commends the Subcommittee for its role in upholding human rights at home and abroad. The Advocates for Human Rights encourages the Subcommittee to hold additional hearings on U.S. compliance with human rights treaty obligations and other human rights issues in the future.



The Advocates for Human Rights is a non-governmental, 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to the promotion and protection of internationally recognized human rights and holds Special Consultative Status with the United Nations.


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