NAACP Calls for an Inter-Agency Working Group on Human Rights and for Reform of the United States Commission on Civil Rights
WHEREAS, since its inception, the NAACP has consistently served as the conscience of America regarding the violation of the human rights of people of racial and ethnic minority populations both at home and abroad; and
WHEREAS, the NAACP first took the fight against racial segregation, white supremacy and Jim Crow directly to the United Nations in a petition filed on behalf of the Association by Dr. W.E.B. DuBois in 1947; and
WHEREAS, the NAACP has worked to secure U.S. ratification of United Nations human rights treaties including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination; and
WHEREAS, the Obama Administration has emphasized its commitment to human rights at home and abroad, which requires at a minimum full, constructive and meaningful participation in international and regional human rights institutions guided by the principles these institutions are intended to uphold; and
WHEREAS, we must establish concrete measures in order to fully address the entire range of human rights violations in which the United States is implicated; and
WHEREAS, historically, the US Commission on Civil Rights was established to study and collect information relating to discrimination or a denial of equal protection of the laws under the Constitution because of race, color, religion, sex, age, disability, or national origin, or in the administration of justice and to appraise federal laws and policies with respect to discrimination or denial of equal protection of the laws because of race, color, religion, sex, age, disability, or national origin, or in the administration of justice, and should, conceptually, be a key partner in the quest to create a more perfect union which respects Americans' civil and human rights; and
WHEREAS, in recent years the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has strayed from its historic and critical core mission to investigate and diagnose the state of civil rights in our nation, and instead has articulated views hostile to vigorous civil rights enforcement; and
WHEREAS, the NAACP has been notified in the past month that, due in large part to the fact that the US Commission on Civil Rights has strayed so far from its original mission that its federal funding is in imminent danger of elimination by the United States Congress; and
WHEREAS, the Congress and the President have the opportunity to create a more effective response to civil and human rights by reforming, and not eliminating, the US Civil Rights Commission and issuing an Executive Order directing federal government efforts on domestic human rights; and
WHEREAS, there is a clear and definite continuing need for the work of the U.S. commission on civil Rights as originally envisioned by its creators.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP calls on President Obama to issue an Executive Order to create a revitalized and effective Inter-Agency Working Group on Human Rights to achieve the following:
- implement the full spectrum of human rights as envisioned in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, recognizing that every human being is entitled not only to civil and political rights, but also to economic, social and cultural rights;
- promote, respect and implement human rights obligations in U.S. domestic and foreign policy among executive departments and agencies;
- facilitate and coordinate impact assessments and studies to ensure government policies, pending legislation and regulations are consistent with human rights commitments;
- require Inspectors General, civil rights and civil liberties offices within departments, and the Government Accountability Office incorporate human rights obligations and analysis in their reviews and investigations of government agencies, policies and programs;
- prepare, with meaningful civil society consultation and input, a plan of action to fully implement and incorporate human rights obligations into domestic and foreign policy, which includes following up on recommendations made by treaty bodies such as the Human Rights Committee and the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination as well as the U.N. Human Rights Council following the 2010 Universal Periodic Review; and
- enhanced collaboration between federal, state and local governments on implementation and enforcement of human rights obligations.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP calls on Congress to reform the United States Commission on Civil Rights and take steps which include expanding the Commission's mandate to monitor government compliance with civil rights laws and human rights treaties as matter of domestic policy and law; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP Board of Directors requests that the President and CEO take any and all steps necessary to support efforts by the Human Rights at Home Campaign to advocate for the creation of an infrastructure to enforce, implement and monitor compliance with human rights treaties and international law which includes both an Executive Order and an independent and effective United States Commission on Civil and Human Rights; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the National Office provide support to local NAACP units and chapters to strengthen their capacity to engage both the Executive Branch, Congress and state and local governments in the type of civil society advocacy essential to ensuring that human rights are fully protected as a matter of domestic law and policy.