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Press Release: United States’ Human Rights Record to Undergo Global Scrutiny


Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Contact Person:

Kerry McLean, US Human Rights Network

United States’ Human Rights Record to Undergo Global Scrutiny at 2020 Universal Periodic Review

ATLANTA, GA (November 4, 2020) -- On November 9, 2020, the United States’ human rights record will be reviewed by UN member states as part of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process. The UPR is a means to assess human rights records of all governments and to foster accountability. The US was reviewed in 2011 and 2015, and though it has consistently made recommendations to other governments, it has historically disregarded recommendations that it has received.

Civil society voices are essential to accurately reflect the state of human rights in communities across the United States. To inform the Review, civil society groups contributed more than 100 submissions. The US Human Rights Network’s own Executive Summary Report distills the 70+ reports submitted by Network members and partners, covering a range of human rights issues including water, food, and housing access, systemic racism, mass incarceration, immigration, and violence against women, children and sex workers. “The US government has engaged in extreme violence against sex workers, especially Black sex workers, and we are calling out these abuses at the UN so that the world will learn what is happening,” says Akynos, founder and Executive Director of the Black Sex Worker Collective (BSWC).

The Trump Administration’s UPR report, submitted in August, contains misrepresentations of the facts on the ground and omits information critical to understanding the bleak human rights picture in the US. Among other flaws, it fails to mention COVID-19, despite the significant impact of the virus on rights to life and health, and its disproportionate impact on historically-marginalized communities, including Black and LatinX people, Indigenous Peoples, transgender people, sex workers, immigrants and individuals living at or close to the poverty line.

The UPR is a unique opportunity to hold the US government accountable. It is one of the few mechanisms that provides the opportunity for individuals, organizations and governments to independently present their perspectives on human rights violations. “We urge the US government to accept and implement recommendations made during the UPR,” says Kerry McLean, USHRN UPR Coordinator. The US Human Rights Network hopes that recommendations issued by UN member states will raise awareness of and lead to improved realization of human rights across the United States -- regardless of the administration in office.

JoAnn Kamuf Ward, Director of the Human Rights in the US Project at the Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute, states: “This UPR offers a critical opportunity for UN member states to highlight the U.S.’ longstanding failure to ensure basic rights. UPR recommendations provide vital tools for ongoing domestic struggles to put equality, dignity and justice into practice at the national, state and local levels.”

UNTV will live-stream the session at 14:30 pm in Geneva (or 8:30 AM ET/7:30 AM CT/5:30 AM PT). For more information, please visit

About the US Human Rights Network The US Human Rights Network is a national network of grassroots organizations across the United States who work on a wide range of domestic human rights abuses, including police violence and systemic racism. It is the US Human Rights Network’s mission to build and support a transformative human rights movement in the United States by maximizing the collective power of those who are directly impacted by human rights violations. Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

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