August 23, 2010 – Today the United States released its self-evaluating Universal Periodic Review (UPR) report to the United Nation’s Human Rights Council outlining human rights conditions in our country. The Human Rights Council is scheduled to review the report in November 2010. This is the first time that the United States Government has submitted such a report, which some see as a step in rebuilding the U.S. record of commitment to human rights.
As part of the UPR preparation phase, the Council for Global Equality, together with Global Rights, the Human Rights Campaign, Human Rights First, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and Immigration Equality, also submitted a shadow report to the U.S. Department of State, with a copy to the Human Rights Council in Geneva, containing suggestions on how the U.S. can improve its adherence to its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
The U.S. Government report recognizes that “in each era of our history there tends to be a group whose experience of discrimination illustrates the continuing debate among citizens about how we can build a more fair society. In this era, one such group is LGBT Americans.” For the full reference to the human rights of LGBT Americans, see page 9, article 34 of the report. (Click here to read the full report submitted by the U.S. Government.)
When we submitted our shadow report on LGBT rights in the United States, the Council was criticized in The Advocate for airing our country’s dirty laundry at the United Nations. (See the criticism here, and our rebuttal here.) The U.S. Government seems to anticipate similar criticism, noting that “[s]ome may say that by participating [in the UPR review] we acknowledge commonality with states that systematically abuse human rights. We do not. There is no comparison between American democracy and repressive regimes. Others will say that our participation, and our assessment of certain areas where we seek continued progress, reflects doubt in the ability of the American political system to deliver progress for its citizens. It does not. . . . Progress is our goal, and our expectation thereof is justified by the proven ability of our system of government to deliver the progress our people demand and deserve.”