From “stand your ground” laws to voter-ID, from drone strikes to NSA surveillance, from profiling of Muslims to continued detentions at Guantanamo Bay, the U.S. government’s positions on a wide range of issues will be placed under a United Nations’ spotlight next month.At a session in Geneva running from October 14 to November 1, the U.N. Human Rights Committee will hold a periodic review of the U.S. compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which was signed by the U.S. in 1977 and ratified in 1992.The Human Rights Committee, which comprises 18 independent legal experts who serve for four years, is a separate entity to the Human Rights Council (HRC), also based in Geneva, which the Obama administration joined in 2009.
The U.S. ICCPR review is the fourth undertaken, and the first since the Obama administration came to office pledging that its engagement with the U.N. human rights apparatus would set a new standard.
“We’re committed to advancing a strong human rights agenda, working with multiple partners from all regions of the world,” then-Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner said in September 2009, the day the U.S. took up its seat on the HRC for the first time.
“The second thing that’s going to guide our participation here is a commitment to a universal application of human rights standards – to everyone, including ourselves,” he said.
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