Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Darker and More Dangerous

On September 11, the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights delivered an Opening Statement to the Human Rights Council.  He titled the report "Darker and More Dangerous."  In the statement, the High Commissioner reviewed a number of human rights challenges and low points, including Egypt, Guatemala, China and Syria.  The United States was also on the list, with these comments from the High Commissioner, decrying policies that punish immigrants and the regularization of antisemitism:

"In the United States, I am concerned by the Government’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programme in six months’ time, despite evidence of its positive impact on the lives of almost 800,000 young immigrants, and on the US economy and society. I hope Congress will now act to provide former DACA beneficiaries with durable legal status. I am disturbed by the increase in detentions and deportations of well-established and law-abiding immigrants: the number of migrants detained who had no criminal convictions was 155% higher in the first five months of this year than in the equivalent period in 2016. Some migrants, including longstanding residents, are now so frightened of expedited deportation they refrain from accessing police protection and courtrooms; for example, reports of rape by Latina women in Houston fell by 43% in the first three months of 2017. I have publicly expressed my concerns about the antisemitism and racism openly voiced in Virginia last month, and which is also increasingly manifested online and in public debates. Free speech is an invaluable and essential right, under both international standards and US law, and it should not be weaponised by calls for violence and hatred."

During the same session, the UN's Working Group on Arbitrary Detention presented the report of their visit to the United States.  The U.S. government's September 12 statement in response to the report -- which explicitly reiterates the U.S. government's commitment to "implementing U.S. obligations under international law" while rejecting many of the group's conclusions as mere "policy preferences"  -- is available here.



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