The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights  & The Leadership Conference Education Fund
The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

Human Rights

Civil rights and human rights have always been intertwined. At the heart of the civil rights movement is the basic human dignity of all people and their right to live in freedom and with justice and equal opportunity. 

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U.N. Examines U.S. Human Rights Record

November 12, 2010 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

For the first time in its history, the United States defended its human rights record before the United Nations Human Rights Council under the new Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process last week. Its presentation before the council and its subsequent Town Hall meeting with various nongovernmental organizations was the culmination of an extensive process in soliciting input, as required by the UPR process, on the state of human rights in the U.S.


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Civil and Human Rights Coalition Identifies Six Priorities for Lame Duck Congress

November 10, 2010 - Posted by Tyler Lewis

Congress returns to work next Monday for the lame-duck session, the last work period of the 111th Congress before the new Congress is sworn in next year. 

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights has identified the following six goals as the civil and human rights community's highest priorities for the lame duck session:


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Study Shows Extensive Racial Profiling by New York City Police

October 29, 2010 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

A recent study by the Center for Constitutional Rights found that the New York City Police Department has been conducting its stop-question-and-frisk policy in a manner consistent with racial profiling.  


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Guest Post: The U.N. Is 65 and Going Strong

October 25, 2010 - Posted by Tyler Lewis

This article was written by Don Kraus, chief executive officer of Citizens for Global Solutions, and is cross-posted from Global Solutions Blog. Citizens for Global Solutions is a membership organization that envisions a world where nations work together to abolish war, protect our rights and freedoms, and solve the problems facing humanity that no nation can solve alone. It works to build political will in the United States to achieve this vision.

Today we recognize the 65th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations.  The world has changed dramatically since October 24th, 1945 when 51 nations banded together "to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war."  Those intervening 65 years were perhaps the most consequential in the entire history of humanity and the U.N. has played a vital role.

In 1945 the world's population was about 2.5 billion.  Europe was in disarray. Ethiopia, Egypt, and Liberia were the only independent nations in Africa.  Today, there are close to 7 billion people in the world and 192 U.N. member nations. Revolutions in communications, agriculture, health-care, transportation and governance have fueled an increasingly interdependent world.  

When the U.N. was established, the word "genocide" had not even been invented. There were very few international laws and organizations.  Today the U.N. has negotiated over 510 multilateral treaties on human rights, terrorism, global crime, refugees, disarmament, trade, commodities, the oceans and many other matters. U.N. member states have built a global web of institutions, laws, and norms to manage everything from international flights to world economics and genocide prevention.


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Faith Leaders Celebrate MLK's Legacy and Make Renewed Call to Action for Civil and Human Rights

August 26, 2010 - Posted by Avril Lighty

On Saturday, August 28, faith leaders and civil and human rights advocates will gather at Shiloh Baptist Church to commemorate the 47th anniversary of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech and commit themselves to renewed activism for social justice.


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State Department Official Says U.S. Must Lead by Example on Human Rights

July 30, 2010 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

During a recent appearance in Washington, D.C., Michael Posner, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, discussed the Obama administration's approach to human rights and foreign policy, and he identified the ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) as a priority.


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Groups Urge Obama to Sign Executive Order on Strengthening U.S. Human Rights Commitments

May 24, 2010 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

Human and civil rights groups are calling on President Obama to issue an executive order that holds the United States accountable for its human rights commitments.


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Women's Rights Treaty Turns 30; Time for the U.S. to Ratify

December 18, 2009 - Posted by Tyler Lewis

Ratify CEDAW Now

Today marks the 30th anniversary of the United Nations' adoption of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) – a comprehensive international treaty that outlines standards for ratifying countries to meet in the treatment and rights of women. 

CEDAW is a critical tool that countries can use to promote the adoption of national laws, policies, and practices to ensure that women and girls live free from violence, have access to quality education, and have the right to participate fully in the economic, political, and social sectors of their society. 

Ratifying countries must report to the U.N. every four years on their compliance with the treaty.  It has been ratified by 186 countries.  The United States is one of only seven countries that have not, along with Sudan, Iran, and Somalia.

The Leadership Conference is currently leading a campaign to urge the U.S. to ratify CEDAW. U.S. ratification of the treaty is critical to advancing women's rights and to restoring the credibility of the U.S. as a country committed to protecting human rights at home and abroad.


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Henderson: U.S. Must Honor Human Rights Obligations at Home

December 16, 2009 - Posted by Tyler Lewis

Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference, testified this morning before the Senate Subcommittee on Human Rights about how a greater U.S. commitment to its international human rights obligations can strengthen civil rights at home.

The U.S. is a party to U.N. treaties and resolutions, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Henderson said that if Congress played a more active role in pushing the U.S. to honor its human rights obligations, then more progress could be made on a number of critical domestic civil rights issues, including:

  • eliminating racial disparities in our criminal justice system, particularly the 100 to 1 crack and powder cocaine disparity;
  • providing full voting representation in Congress for residents of Washington, D.C.;
  • reforming of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights;
  • strengthening the right to form unions; and
  • fulfilling U.S. obligations to indigenous people.


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Henderson Receives Alexander Award for Work Advancing Civil and Human Rights

December 10, 2009 - Posted by Tyler Lewis

Wade Henderson shaking hands with a man during a fundraiser

The Leadership Conference President and CEO Wade Henderson shaking hands with other guests at the District of Columbia Commission on Human Rights' annual International Human Rights Day program on December 10, 2009.

The Leadership Conference's president and CEO, Wade Henderson, received the Cornelius R. "Neil" Alexander Humanitarian Award today from the District of Columbia Commission on Human Rights and the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights for his commitment to advancing the civil and human rights of all Americans.

"The fact that this award commemorates Neil Alexander means a great deal to me. As the human rights commission's chief hearing officer for 20 years, Neil Alexander was a tireless and largely unsung champion of civil and human rights. Our city and the struggle for equal justice benefitted immensely from his legal expertise and his leadership in enforcing the District's human rights law," Henderson said in his acceptance speech.


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