Monday, January 7, 2019
In an earlier blog post, we discussed the worries of human rights advocates, one of which was a concern that the US was no longer cooperating with international human rights reports. In a move that signals the US moving in that direction, the Guardian reported that the US has stopped responding to special rapporteur complaints of human rights violations within our borders.
Reportedly the US stopped responding to complaints last May. 13 inquiries have gone unanswered. The prior administration invited 16 Special Rapporteurs to visit the US. The current administration has invited none. The US responded badly to the June report filed by Philip Alston, Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty criticizing the US failure to address poverty within its borders. Then UN Ambassador Nikki Haley fired back that the report was biased and time would be better spent investigating other countries. UN rapporteurs are unable to submit reports to the UN Human Rights Council without an official visit.
Without US cooperation concerns such as treatment of border migrants are unlikely to be investigated and reported by the UN. Unofficial visits can happen, of course, but resulting reports will not have official sanction of the UN Human Rights Council. Perhaps one remedy is for the Council to create another tier of reporting, one that would accommodate investigations that have not been invited by the country whose conditions are being investigated. Unofficial reporting of investigated conditions could be published, which would greatly assist local US advocates in dealing with municipalities to find remedies for inhumane conditions.