Monday, October 26, 2020
On Friday, October 23, Congresswomen Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14) and Ilhan Omar (MN-05) (also knowns as "The Squad") sent a letter to United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, the Organization of American States’ Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the United Nations Human Rights Council, and 14 UN Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council calling for an independent investigation into the recent, ongoing, and credible allegations of egregious human rights abuses committed by the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS), its components, and its private contractors on the southern U.S. border.
Joined by several other members of the House of Representatives as well as fifty-three domestic human rights organizations, the letter describes a litany of abuses, from family separation to indefinite detention to unncessary hysterectomies.
No response has been reported as yet. Still, these Representatives deserve praise for taking human rights seriously, and asking for a full and independent review rather than clinging to the tattered rags of so-called "American exceptionalism". Unfortunately, if and when international human rights bodies try to take action, the current Administration may be unresponsive to international monitoring efforts. Indeed, it has been several years since Special Procedures were admitted for an official visit. It's one of many things that we hope will change after the election. Meanwhile, calling out these incidents as human rights violations, as the Squad has done, is a step in the right direction.
The text of the letters is available here.