Human Rights Record of USA Reviewed

thThe USA presented for Universal Periodic Review on 11 May. State parties in their comments and Recommendations targeted heavily the ‘big ticket’ issues of equality particularly all forms of racial discrimination, abolition of the death penalty, closure of Guantanamo Bay detention facility, use of torture and drones, surveillance policies and ratification of core international human rights conventions.

Edmund Rice International had made a joint submission targeting the issue of child trafficking and lobbied Permanent Missions in Geneva and New York to garner State support for its recommendations. The Recommendations addressed decriminalising child prostitution for trafficked children, victim identification training for health workers, law enforcement agents, and hospitality workers with incentives to the hospitality industry to sign a code of conduct to protect trafficked children. Further Recommendations addressed funding comprehensive medical, housing and life-skill education services to reintegrate trafficked children into the community, and a nation-wide awareness-raising campaign to inform the community about the child trafficking blight and to empower citizens to cooperate with authorities to eradicate it.

Recent remedial US legislation left scope for pursuing these recommendations in particular establishing specialised services for victims and awareness-training for first responders. ERI was encouraged to note that these particular issues attracted Recommendations.

Other child-focussed recommendations addressed equal access to education for vulnerable groups particularly the Native American  population and raising the age for hazardous and harvesting work for child labourers. Further, calls were made for the ending of life imprisonment without parole for juvenile offenders, and halting the detention of child immigrants. Multiple recommendations sought further protection of children’s rights through ratification of the CRC.

The USA will announce its response to the 343 recommendations made to it no later than the 30th session of the Human Rights Council which is due to commence on 14th Sep 2015.

– Barbara Tynan ERI Intern

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