Human Rights Reporting Project
This MCLI Project takes its cue from the work of the African National Congress in issuing careful periodic reports of violations of rights guaranteed in UN human rights treaties in waging its successful fight against the South African apartheid regime. The Project works with a diverse group of community activists, teachers, lawyers, students and victims of discrimination from every neighborhood and culture to convince their local governments to protect human rights at the city, county, and state levels. The Project will work on the specific duty of local governments to make periodic reports of how their departments and commissions are enforcing the rights enunciated in three little known ratified UN treaties: Convention on Elimination all forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD), Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Since a treaty is the supreme law of the land under the U.S. Constitution, this is a step in better enforcing human rights for all. The Project submitted these reports to the UN Human Rights Committee meeting in Geneva in Summer 2006.
Need To Be Met: The so-called “war on terror” by the U.S. Government, assisted by many local government agencies, is causing massive human rights violations throughout Northern California and in virtually every community in the U.S. Since 1992, Meiklejohn Institute has integrated into all of its legal work the language and reporting processes of the three UN Committees on CERD, CAT, and ICCPR.
* The Project will use its diverse Board members to conduct training sessions on local human rights abuses, based on the 180 reports in the Institute’s 574 page book, “Challenging U.S. Human Rights Violations Since 9/11,” and will discuss the text of the U.S. Bill of Rights and the three ratified human rights treaties.
* The Project will recruit students from community colleges, colleges and law schools to become interns (and will not turn away interested high school students). Interns will collect new examples of local and regional human rights violations from their communities, and will participate in public presentations.
* The Project will answer requests from community activists in Northern California cities and counties for assistance in drafting resolutions to city councils and county boards of supervisors to require reports on human rights violations by their Departments of Human Services, Police, Health, Labor, etc., and by Commissions on the status of Women, Youth, Labor, etc.
* After initial broad work, the Project will focus on work with the most active community groups to seek to convince their cities or counties to submit their reports to the U.S. Department of State, and directly to the three UN committees that enforce the treaties, as Berkeley City Council did in 1995.
* The Project will prepare a report on its findings to submit to the U.S. State Department for its next reports, and will submit it directly to the three UN committees. Copies will be sent to California Congress members and Senators and Chairs of relevant Congressional committees.
* It will continue the Meiklejohn tradition of sending a Board member and an intern to NYC and to Geneva to discuss the city and county reports with the UN Committees.
* The Project will recruit and train a diverse core of speakers to be interviewed, and will send speakers throughout the U.S. as requested.
* The Project will issue press releases to the major media and to community organization newsletters and post them on MCLI’s website, and also email the information to other interested people on MCLI’s mailing list.
* It will meet with members of boards of education, teachers and professors, teachers unions and PTA’s to encourage teaching human rights and the UN reporting system.
* And it will prepare a complete report of its activities, successes, and problems.