The UN Human Rights Council’s Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review in the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights issued interim documents on the UPR of the United States, which was to take place in person in Geneva from May 4-20, 2020. Due to COVID-19, the in-person session has been moved to November 2020. As described by the UNHRC, “The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a unique process which involves a periodic review of the human rights records of all 193 UN Member States. The UPR is a significant innovation of the Human Rights Council which is based on equal treatment for all countries. It provides an opportunity for all States to declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries and to overcome challenges to the enjoyment of human rights. The UPR also includes a sharing of best human rights practices around the globe.” These interim documents summarize the submissions of stakeholders and the submissions of UN bodies and special procedures on the U.S.’ human rights record.
The United States government has, so far, not submitted an official national report to the UNHRC. However, various NGOs and civil society organizations and other stakeholders, including the National Lawyers Guild and its International Committee, have submitted an array of reports on issues of concern. The NLG is also part of a task force on the UPR convened by the US Human Rights Network, which collected and summarized a wide range of reports dealing with human rights violations in the United States, including violations of the rights of people of African descent, reproductive rights, housing rights, rights to water and a broad range of civil, political, social and economic rights.
The National Lawyers Guild and the International Association of Democratic Lawyers submitted a report, “United States’ failure to put into place effective measures to ensure the right to vote,” while the National Lawyers Guild, IADL, People’s Action Institute and Rights and Democracy Institute submitted on “The Right to Health: How Financing Affects the Right to Health Care in the U.S.” The voting rights submission was referenced in paragraph 45 of the stakeholders’ summary report, while the right to health submission was referenced in paragraphs 63, 64 and 65.
The Right to Health: