Help to fund activists' travel to the
Universal Periodic Review (Geneva, May 2020)
The 2019-2020 United Nations Review of the United States human rights record provides an important opportunity for human rights advocates to build support for more people-centered national and local policies. Organizers in cities and communities across the U.S. have submitted our reports to the UN on the human rights challenges faced by cities around the country. Our next step is to send delegations of grassroots human rights defenders to lobby UN officials to bring our human rights priorities and recommendations into the official proceedings of the US Universal Periodic Review. We need you to help support this delegation with your donation!
Please help us build on the powerful work of grassroots human rights activists and help us show the international community that despite the actions of the Trump Administration, US residents believe in human rights and are working hard to “bring them home!” We know from past work that grassroots organizers can have a powerful impact on the thinking of international officials, and the experience of seeing the United Nations in action can help our movements develop creative ideas for using these mechanisms to build power. Please make a contribution to support our grassroots delegation to the UN UPR leaders. Working together, we can amplify our voices in the global conversation about how we can improve human rights conditions for more of the world’s people.
Genevieve Whitaker, Virgin Islands Youth Advocacy Coalition
Virgin Islands Youth Advocacy Coalition, Inc. (VIYAC), is a broad-based coalition of organizations and individuals committed to increasing political and civic involvement and overall voter participation of Virgin Islanders, ages 14-30. VIYAC’s co-founder, President, Genevieve Whitaker, is a trained human rights lawyer (former Amnesty International USA, Florida Legislative Coordinator and former Executive Board Member of UNA-USA Tampa Bay Chapter) and is a UN Fellow (2016) for the International Decade (IDPAD) and served as a 2017 IDPAD Second Regional Meeting Delegate (link to presentation) having represented the interests of fellow Virgin Islanders of the United States. Dominic Latty, also a Co-Founder serving as Vice-President, is a trained lawyer and human rights advocate, who presented on the matters surrounding human rights in the context of Virgin Islanders right to self-determination within the U.S. colonial, he was the youngest presenter at the 2012, University College of the Cayman Islands Caribbean Conference: 50-50, Surveying the Past, Mapping the Future.
Genevieve and Dominic as Co-Facilitators of USHRN Working Group on Decolonization having engaged persons from the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico in the UPR process and having file a UPR Report. The primary violations is our right to vote for the highest office holder in our nation, as enshrined in the ICCPR as that denial violates not only the treaty provision on voting rights, the denial is based racist law (jurisprudence) in violation of ICERD. '
As a grassroots organization with limited resources and this being the first time Virgin Islands NGOs will be part of the UPR process, we are seeking your support in assisting us as well as 3 more individuals from the supporting organization, named in our report. Thank you in advance for supporting the cause the advance the rights of Virgin Islanders others living in U.S. territories.
Laetitia Aby, Citizens Against Harmful Technologies
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS WITH RELATION TO HIGH TECH USES FOR THE OPPRESSION AND PERSECUTION OF THE MASSES. WE ARE PROTESTING THE USES OF HARMFUL TECHNOLOGIES WITHIN MEDICAL AND OTHER INDUSTRIES---WHEREBY THE LIKES OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE METHODS AND BIOTECHNOLOGIES ARE IMPLANTED OR INSERTED IN LARGE COMMUNITIES AND POPULATIONS (NON CONSENSUALLY) FOR EXPERIMENTAL AND OPPRESSIVE REASONS.
Michelle Cook, Water Protector Legal Collective
Indigenous peoples are leading the struggle for climate justice and to protect Indigenous lands and waters and the Earth. The fossil fuel industry and its partners in the U.S. and Canadian governments are determined to quell this movement, which is inspiring peoples around the world to stand up against extraction and for sustainable energy sources. Thus we have seen brutal, militarized police violence against, and the criminal prosecution of more than 800 water protectors resisting construction of an oil pipeline through their unceded lands, threatening their sacred water source at Standing Rock (North Dakota); the militarized violent eviction of Wet’suwet’en First Nation water protectors resisting a pipeline that would run through their land and threaten their watershed and wildlife (British Columbia); and passage of laws criminalizing protest against the Keystone XL pipeline by Indigenous communities and allies in South Dakota.
Confrontation by federal law enforcement is also brewing along the US-Mexico border where a number of Indigenous nations are resisting construction of the border wall, which cleaves apart their communities,
threatens sacred sites, burial sites, and wildlife, and eases the way for multiple fossil fuel pipelines. The Water Protector Legal Collective, WPLC and IPLP recently submitted a report to United Nations Human rights Council through the UPR process on the topic of criminalization of indigenous human rights defenders. The funding will enable us to send several Indigenous human rights defenders to share their urgent situation with the international community at the United Nations Human Rights Council's Universal Periodic Review.
Please see links to our work below.
Water Protector Legal Collective Press Release, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to Hold Hearing on Suppression of Indigenous Resistance to Extractive Industries – Requested by over 70 organizations from Canada, Mexico & the USA, (April 10, 2019)
Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program, Report to the Inter-American Commission, Criminalization of Human Rights Defenders of Indigenous Peoples Resisting Extractive Industries in the United States (June 24, 2019)
Alianza Indigena Sin Fronteras
The Alianza Indigena Sin Fronteras (AISF) plans to travel with its collaborator, the International Maya League, sending six Indigenous women who collaborated in groundbreaking documentation of Indigenous rights violations for a joint stakeholders' report:
Dr. Patrisia Gonzales (Kickapoo/ Comanche/ Macehual), AISF executive director, coordinated/facilitated several know your rights campaigns related to the rights of mobility and passage of Indigenous peoples, including the UPR report, a border crossing manual, know your rights materials in several Indigenous languages, and Indigenous circles to increase resiliency as a solution to missing and murdered Indigenous women.
Kat Rodriguez (Chicana) has been a community organizer and activist in the Tucson community for nearly 20 years. She has specifically worked on issues as they relate to the militarization of the US-Mexican border, migrant/human rights, missing and deceased migrants, Indigenous right of sovereignty and rights of mobility/passage, and asylum seekers shelters.
She was part of the first team that documented human remains of migrants who perish while crossing the Sonoran desert.
Rachel Starks (Zuni-Navajo): As an AISF Indigenous advocate and policy analyst, she has applied her expertise of global Indigenous border issues toward developing written statements condemning the treatment of Indigenous migrants on behalf of the AlSF.
The Mayan League has developed an Indigenous led response grounded in the rights, cosmovision, and realities of the Maya to address human rights violations in forced migration.
Nana Maria Teresa (Maya Mam) is founding member and a Traditional Elder of the Maya Mam people and has over four decades of human rights experience defending the rights of Indigenous peoples, Mother Earth, and preserving and transmitting traditional knowledge.
Juanita Cabrera Lopez (Maya Mam) is the Executive Director of the Mayan League and has focused on the full and effective use and implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the right of self-determination and collective rights to lands, territories, natural resources and the environment.
Lorena Brady, Policy Associate, supports the Mayan League’s work in advocacy and program support. She brings over 10 years of experience working alongside Native leaders, human rights defenders and attorneys throughout the Americas before UN bodies and the IACHR.
We are holding the United States accountable for its failure to recognize Indigenous peoples in forced migration and to respect our human rights within the immigration system. We have the right to exist as Indigenous peoples, free from discrimination and the right of self-determination, including the right to due process in immigration, rights that are violated through the nexus of language, identity, and racism. This includes the violation of Indigenous rights of mobility and passage, specifically as it relates to their human rights while seeking asylum, refuge or access to the US-Mexico border, as well as Indigenous rights to language services and due process at the US-Mexico border.
Relatives: we are a group of six Indigenous women from two Indigenous rights organizations who collaborated as a team of Indigenous rights advocates and researchers. We provided information and data that simply has not been documented by anyone as to the scope, and treatment, of Indigenous migrants in the Arizona border.
The AISF/Mayan League as two historical grassroots Indigenous Rights organizations with decades of commitment to Indigenous peoples’ human rights aim to shed light on the grave human rights situation facing Indigenous peoples in forced migration. The global migration phenomenon that is being witnessed today (with devastating results) is disproportionately affecting Indigenous peoples who are subjected to the violation of multiple rights, from issues of language access, denial of medical attention, and physical abuse/violence resulting in death. While the issue of migration is gaining global attention- particularly children in cages or families being separated, it is not common knowledge that a large portion of this vulnerable population are Indigenous peoples.
Our critical voice and perspective must be part of the advocacy efforts which can only be adequately carried out by Native leaders and advocates. We will: a) provide first-hand knowledge and information to the Working Group to ensure that the recommendations presented in the joint submission are brought to the floor during the Review Session; b) ensure questions presented in the joint submission are part of the inquiry of the United States human rights records as it pertains to Indigenous peoples’ human rights within forced migration and; c) develop an ongoing process with allies to ensure our recommendations are adopted to protect and advance the human rights of Indigenous peoples in forced migration and in the United States immigration system.
As the Original peoples of the Americas, our voices should be heard directly by the international community. Without the first hand experience of Indigenous peoples on the ground of these issues, the UPR would have an incomplete, and therefore tainted process.
As a result of participating in the UPR process, the AISF will be developing intake forms based on International laws for use by shelters and Indigenized UPR workshops to promote Indigenous youth engagement in future UPRs.
Best Practices Policy Project
Please find out more about the fundraiser here. WE NEED YOUR TAX DEDUCTIBLE DONATIONS to support a sex workers of color-led rights team to the UN. As part of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) sex worker rights advocates have submitted a national report to the United Nations about the violations of our rights over the last five years. The next step is that sex worker rights leaders will travel to Geneva, Switzerland to speak to member countries about the criminalization of our communities. Our UN team will be led by Black transgender women, specifically experienced UN advocate Monica Jones, supporting the advocacy of Black leaders such as N’Jaila Rhee, Jiselle and Akynos who will be traveling to Geneva for the very first time.
What is the primary human rights violation we are fighting against? Throughout the U.S., criminalization and stigmatization of sex workers, and those profiled as such, prevents them from exercising their human rights. The intersection of immigration policies and sex worker rights is our priority for the coming UPR. We are calling on the United States to immediately end
the atrocities of current border policies in the United States that impact all immigrants, including sex workers. Our report documents the death of migrant sex workers at the hands of state agents, the incarceration of migrant sex workers in rights violating detention centers, and the deportation of vulnerable people back into harm’s way. The deaths of people like Yang Song and Roxsana Hernandez must not happen again. The U.S. government has also engaged in a sustained campaign to roll back the rights of transgender people. Transgender people are assumed to be sex workers by the authorities, leading to incarceration and immigration detention, where they are harmed, highly vulnerable to sexual assaults, and killed. Economic rights of sex workers in the US and globally have been violated by the 2018 Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) and Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA). FOSTA/SESTA has also imperiled freedom of association causing, for example, the Desiree Alliance to cancel the organization's seventh national conference Transcending Borders: Immigration, Migration, and Sex Work that would have been held in July 2019.
Marco Castro-Bojorquez, United States People Living with HIV Caucus
In 2018 I was fortunate to receive the FIHRE Fellowship with USHRN, and it has had a big impact in my work within the queer/HIV movement. I was feeling really “uncomfortable” fighting for civil rights and knowing we were leaving people behind. Current efforts to end the HIV pandemic here in the US, do not integrate marginalized communities like sex workers, undocumented immigrant people, or women. Amen of addressing structural barriers, social determinants of health, language justice, etc...My strategy has been to work with all those folks but personally advocate for them to understand the importance of addressing all these issues from a human rights perspective. I truly believe we would be able to accomplish much more and we would not ignore those with less privileges than some of us. I am a new member of USHRN and I am looking forward to build partnerships and “to flow” in the network. HIV is my platform and I especially work on HIV Racial Justice, I co-founded a network of POC PLHIV advocates and announced our framework in 2017: A Declaration of Liberation: Building a Racially Just and Strategic HIV Movement. in English and Spanish!
I also advocate for mental health and its relationship with HIV, and in December of 2018, I was invited to Geneva as a speaker in the Thematic Segment during the Thematic Segment of the 42nd UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board (PCB),"Mental Health and HIV/AIDS - promoting human rights, an integrated and person-centred approach to improving ARV adherence, well-being and quality of life", a great experience that open a lot of windows in my journey as an HIV advocate, this experience and the current socio-political toxic environment in the U.S., motivates me to try and be in present during the U.S. UPR 2020.
I also have, successfully promoted the adoption of HR principles with the many groups/orgs I work with like, PWN-USA, The SERO Project, The Desiree Alliance, US People living with HIV Caucus, HIV Racial Justice Now, and The Avielle Foundation where I work as a board member.
For long, I have collaborated with the sex workers community in the US and their UPR report was the inspiration for me to be more intentional at advancing Human Rights in the U.S. and work with you. I sent a request to join the “Health Issues” working group and finally, I formally joined the network a few days ago. It is my intention to provide solidarity, and support to the sex workers team that may be traveling to Geneva, and for me, it is also an awesome learning and networking opportunity that would get me closer to my goal of working full time within a human rights framework as I advocate for the lives of people living with HIV in the world but with emphasis in Latin America and the immigrant community here in the U.S.
PMoses, Black Lives Matter Memphis Rise Up America
We hope to have 5 to 7 people traveling to the UN they will play various roles to help strengthen the fight for equal women and minority rights our aim is to bring awareness to various injustices that seek to keep our people marginalized. We are fighting criminal justice reform and equity issues.
BLM works with Rise Up is a coalition of organizations, businesses, faith-based groups and individuals; representing all nationalities, Religions, various movements and causes, executing community advocacy; and becoming an example that grassroots organizing (face-to-face, door to door and block by block) makes a difference, by providing an array of actions; concerts, teach-ins, direct action-trainings, and rallies; using non-violent actions, proactive and timely communication, while implementing a system of accountability.
We hope to connect more families and communities to the resources available to them from private, corporate, and government resources at the federal,
state and local levels by ensuring the dissemination
and translation of urgent credible info which relates directly to the residents of our communities. We seek contributions to enable a series of Musical Peaceful Assemblies within the City of Memphis and abroad to create immediate employment opportunities such as the RevoSOLUTIONaries to go door-to-door, engaging our neighbors to Take back our rights ...by the way of the polls and information.
We intend to bring greater levels of awareness and empowerment; and to promote true community engagement with alternative strategies to critical issues within the community, that includes an equitable platform that includes both Constitutional and Legislative decision-making processes and holding them accountable. Our mission is to return our rights back to into the hands of the people with local community control, through organizing, promoting non-partisan & civic participation for proper proposals and bill creation; adequate funding; appropriations, and allocations of resources; for Memphis to regain a sense of purpose and political power.
Martha Schmidt, National Lawyers Guild
I am requesting funding to enable me to attend the UPR session in Geneva in spring 2020 as a representative from the National Lawyers Guild. I live in the Pacific Northwest and need to raise about $2000 to cover airfare and some expenses. I have been a labor and community organizer, a college teacher and am retiring from law practice at the end of 2019 to advocate for social and economic rights and the rights of ecosystems on a full-time basis. I have been an activist all my adult life.
I would be representing one of the four organizations who submitted a report, "The Right to Health: How financing affects the right to health care in the U.S." (The three other organizations are the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, the People's Action Institute and the Rights and Democracy Institute.)
The National Lawyers Guild is an organization of lawyers, law students, legal workers and jailhouse lawyers. It was founded in 1937 as an alternative to the American Bar Association which did not admit people
of color. The NLG works "in service to the people to the end that human rights and the rights of ecosystems are more important than property interests" (Preamble, Constitution). The NLG was a consulting organization at the founding of the UN in San Francisco and one of the 42 organizations that ensured that the UN Charter includes human rights and equal rights of men and women in the preamble and Article 68, which provides the basis for ECOSOC's establishment of human rights bodies. The NLG is a national organization with more than 20 committees, task forces, and projects. We issue statements, press releases and reports, educate and advocate, engage in litigation, and participate in electoral observer missions. Our Human Rights Framework Project, which especially advocates for social and economic rights and U.S. accountability and participates in shadow reporting, is a project of the International Committee.
I have worked for the right to health care for more than a decade with a number of organizations in Washington State and have served chiefly as an educator on human rights law. I was a founder of Healthcare is a Human Right-WA. This will be another way to continue my work and help build the movement, which has reached new levels of participation and power. Thank you for your interest and assistance.
Angela Golden Bryan, UNA-USA Broward County, FL & Fireburn Foundation
I hope to travel on behalf of the UNA-USA Broward County Chapter as the Ambassador for Gender Equality, as well as the Women Chair. We are pushing to see CEDAW ratified, as we understand the need for the empowerment of women and girls, all over the world. In is imperative that we stand together, with as many people as possible, by participating in this fundraising initiative. Together we can!
Janet Parker, Medical Whistleblower Advocacy Network
Medical Whistleblower Advocacy Network (MWAN) acts as a grassroots advocate for human rights for disabled persons and other individuals. Medical Whistleblower Advocacy Network submitted a UPR Report for the 3rd Cycle on the Trump Administration's threatened deportation of medically needy immigrants who were in the Deferred Action status.
The Trump Administration suddenly decided on August 7, 2019 to revoke or modify procedures that have allowed certain immigrants to remain in the United States on humanitarian grounds including ethical considerations related to The Common Rule and the ICCPR. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) mailed notices saying the agency will no longer consider most deferrals of deportation for people with serious medical conditions.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services has now altered the medical “deferred action” policy which permitted immigrants with medical needs to avoid deportation while they or their relatives were undergoing lifesaving medical treatment. USCIS receives about 1,000 deferred-action applications related to medical issues each year. Some of the cases were immigrants who were participants as human subjects in important medical research and thus subject to human rights protections under The Common Rule. One immigrant was a human subject in research on a very rare genetic disease called Maroteaux-Lamy Syndrome, also known as Mucopolysaccharidosis Type 6 (MPS-VI).
This USCIS policy change affects the most vulnerable immigrants, patients who would die without their life-saving treatment, children being treated for cystic fibrosis, sickle-cell anemia, heart defects, spina bifida, neuromuscular disease, respiratory distress syndrome, cancer and other medical conditions. The deferred action policy also was applied to crime victims who have helped law enforcement, and caretakers or relatives of sick children to remain in the U.S.A. Women can also apply for deferred-action based on the Violence Against Women Act. DACA or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals which was announced by President Barack Obama in 2012, is another form of deferred action. These Deferred-action immigrants still do not know whether they will be deported – they are still in limbo.
Kelly Miller, National Lawyers Guild
Hello, my name is Kelly Miller and I am requesting your assistance with funding to enable me to attend the UN - UPR session in Geneva in spring 2020 as a representative from the USHRN. I am currently homeless in Washington, DC and need to raise about $2,000 to cover airfare and various expenses.
I have been nationally recognized by the National Whistle blowers Organization in 2018 and 2019 as a Whistle blower on FBI, Law Enforcement and government corruption. I recently spoke at Georgetown Law University at their “Color of Surveillance” Conference regarding unlawful surveillance of the poor and homeless. I received my master’s in adult education and master’s in counseling from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky and I can be contacted at Equaljustice4kellymiller@yahoo.com.
The following is a preamble of my initial UPR report “Rightful Access of Unsheltered Homeless Persons from Medical Facilities and Emergency Room Services to a 3rd Party Continuum of Care thru Medical Respite Facilities” jointly submitted with the National Lawyers Guild as an Annex to the 36th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review to be held in Geneva May 2020.
My UPR report highlights how the immense lack of adequate health care provided to Homeless individuals is overwhelmingly astounding as the homeless are continually lost in government and society’s refusal to accommodate and provide rightful health care services based solely upon the homeless individuals lack of economics to sustain themselves in acceptable housing conditions. In addition, my UPR report focuses on prominent human rights issues of individuals and organizations in health care unlawfully and unethically targeting homeless individuals then withholding rightful health services and in doing so severely limit the expected quality of life opportunities of indigent citizens of these United States of America.
The misrepresentation presented by the United States is that when providing medical services and resources for “low-income and poor” citizens it is the same as providing for the unsheltered homeless when in fact it is entirely two separate realms. Low income and poor citizens have daily access to shelter from the harsh elements in addition to daily access to sanitation with clean running water, toilet and tub/shower for hygiene purposes and a safe secure bed to sleep in when they are ill and need sufficient respite to heal. These options are not only accessible to low income and poor citizens during the evening hours but during the day as well extending their time to heal appropriately. These standard basic living amenities are ALL required accommodations for the healing process to be effective and yet none of these sanitation and respite health care accommodations are available to a unsheltered homeless person.
The disadvantaged in society require assistance to level the playing field in all arenas especially in Health Care for quality of life and well-being to be accomplished. We must provide for the health and well-being of all citizens as a fundamental responsibility not as a condition of employment, income, disability status or some other criterion.