GENEVA – Today, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and The Leadership Conference Education Fund are highlighting national concerns about police bias and violence at the United Nations review of the United States’ human rights record.
At the Universal Periodic Review happening now in Geneva, The Leadership Conference is calling for national reforms to our criminal justice system and for the development of a domestic U.S. mechanism charged with implementing human rights obligations and treaty recommendations in the United States.
June Zeitlin, director of human rights policy at The Leadership Conference, testified that “in a time when our nation is making global headlines for police violence in places like Baltimore, Cleveland, North Charleston, S.C., Staten Island, N.Y., and Ferguson, Mo., the need for a stronger executive branch institution to implement our human rights obligations has never been more clear. Biased law enforcement against communities of color is a nationwide issue that is exacerbated by the deprivation of human rights to quality housing, education, health care, and employment opportunities. A domestic mechnism charged with helping to implement these obligations in addition to our issues with law enforcement can prevent these tragedies from recurring and help impacted communities heal and prosper.”
Sakira Cook, policy counsel for The Leadership Conference, testified that “as the United States seeks to implement its human rights obligations, it must take into account the discrimination and racial disparities that persist at every stage of the U.S. criminal justice system, from policing to trial to sentencing to reentry. For example, one in 10 Black males in their 30s is in prison or jail on any given day, and Black males are six times more likely to be incarcerated than non-Hispanic White males. The Leadership Conference believes that eradicating these issues is critical to ensuring equality, justice and fairness in the United States in the 21st century. In particular, issues of racial profiling, police misconduct, and sentencing reform have recently dominated the national discourse. Though the U.S. government has implemented measures in recent years to alleviate the racial discrimination in the criminal justice system, much more must be done to sufficiently address the growing disparities.”
The Leadership Conference Education Fund builds public will for federal policies that promote and protect the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States. The Education Fund’s campaigns empower and mobilize advocates around the country to push for progressive change in the United States.
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals.
For more information on The Leadership Conference and its 200-plus member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org.