U.S. Human Rights Record Under Review

On August 13 and 15, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination will review the United States' compliance with it's international human rights obligations under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD). The review will take place in Geneva, Switzerland as part of the Committee's 85th Session.The United States is required to submit regular reports to the Committee regarding its compliance under the ICERD. The United States last report submitted in June 2013 is available here.

In response to the U.S. report, the National Congress of American Indians and the Indian Law Resource Center,with endorsements by the National Indigenous Women's Resource Center and Clan Star, Inc., submitted a shadow report to the Committee. A key vehicle for leveraging the UN review process in support of human rights, the shadow report focuses on the United States' violations of the ICERDC in the context of violence against American Indian and Alaska Native women. The report asks the Committee to consider four recommendations the United states can take to comply with the ICERD and ensure justice and safety for American Indian and Alaska Native women.

  1. Reform United States law and policy to remove systemic discriminatory legal barriers that fail to protect Indian and Alaska Native women and children against violence, particularly those laws, such as VAWA 2013 that exclude Alaska Native tribes from protections available to tribes in the Lower 48, and empower Indian and Alaska Native nations and tribes to exercise their inherent sovereign power to exercise full criminal jurisdiction within their lands.
  2. Fully implement existing laws, including VAWA 2013, in order to prevent and combat domestic violence; investigate and prosecute crimes; ensure remedies and appropriate services for all victims; and assist tribal authorities in their efforts to address domestic violence against Native American women.
  3. Provide sufficient and appropriate funding and resources to Indian and Alaska Native nations and justice systems to ensure equal protection and meaningful justice for all American Indian and Alaska Native victims of domestic and sexual violence.
  4. Fully implement the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010, including the recommendations of the Indian Law and Order Commission.

The complete shadow report, including the full text of these recommendations, is available on the website of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Following the review, the Committee will report its concluding observations and recommendations on how the United States can better implement the ICERD. The review itself will likely be webcast. Further details on the ICERD and the Committee's work is available here.