Over the past year National Lawyers Guild members have worked to bring urgent human rights violations in the United States to international attention through the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process. The UPR is a unique process through which the human rights record of a country is reviewed by other United Nations member States. Countries are reviewed every 4-5 years. The member States then make recommendations to the country under review, which the country should in theory accept and implement. The United States was reviewed previously in 2011 and 2015, and will be reviewed again on November 9, 2020.
More than 100 UPR reports were submitted to the UN by civil society organizations in an effort to inform UN member States about the human rights situation in the United States. Several NLG members submitted reports last year and have been involved in the UPR process.. The US Human Rights Network, of which the NLG is a member organization, has been coordinating civil society advocacy in the UPR process. The reports of NLG members are referenced in the Executive Summary Report written by the US Human Rights Network, which is available at upr2020.org.
Physical presence at the UPR is restricted due to the continuing pandemic but the process will be fully webcast on the UN TV website on Monday, November 9. The session will take place between 2:30 pm and 6 pm in Geneva, which equates to 5:30 am through 9 am Pacific time and 8:30 am through 12 noon Eastern time. A recording of the session will also be available on the UN TV website afterwards.
Kerry McLean, NLG IC Steering Committee member and Africa Subcommittee Chair, serves as the UPR Coordinator for the US Human Rights Network and was previously the USHRN’s Women’s Rights Working Group Co-Chair. She coordinates all aspects of the UPR advocacy process.
Jeanne Mirer, IC Co-Chair, worked with the National Lawyers Guild and the International Association of Democratic Lawyers to submit a report, “United States’ failure to put into place effective measures to ensure the right to vote.” The circumstances surrounding this year’s election highlight the urgency of this matter.
Martha Schmidt, NLG IC Steering Committee, worked with the National Lawyers Guild, IADL, People’s Action Institute and Rights and Democracy Institute to submit a report on “The Right to Health: How Financing Affects the Right to Health Care in the U.S. ” The relationship between privately financed, commodified health care and the highest number of global deaths from SARS-CoV-2 has been exposed.
Download the Right to Health report: https://nlginternational.org/newsite/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/UPR_US_Health.pdf
Download the Voting Rights report: https://nlginternational.org/newsite/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/UPR_US_Voting.pdf
Visit the UN website to download the U.S.’ official report, advance questions for the U.S. and a summary document of the civil society reports: https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/USindex.aspx
Watch the UPR webcast live here: http://webtv.un.org/meetings-events/human-rights-council/
Please contact the NLG International Committee with any questions about the UPR Process: firstname.lastname@example.org