In the first year after launching our US Racial Discrimination Program in 1998, IHRLG's work included briefing the Board of Advisors of President Clinton's Initiative on Race regarding its 1998 report. The Board's report ultimately included a section addressing the US government's obligations under human rights treaties in general and the Race Convention
specifically. Subsequently, President Clinton issued Executive Order 13107, which called for the domestic implementation of all human rights treaties to which the United States is a party and established an inter-agency working group to coordinate implementation efforts. IHRLG also organized the first-ever public hearing before the US Commission on Civil Rights
to address US compliance with international human rights treaty obligations in 1998.
Since 1998, IHRLG has continued to monitor US compliance with the Race Convention and concentrate on establishing and strengthening working relationships among US civil rights and social justice groups with the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, as well as the United Nations Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Highlights of recent IHRLG action in this area include
- Bringing eight experts to Geneva to brief CERD members on issues such as welfare and work, affirmative action, racial bias in the criminal justice system, violations of the rights of indigenous peoples and racial discrimination in public schools. CERD formally reviewed the US track record on compliance with the Race Convention in August 2001.
- Developing guidelines to writing and submitting shadow reports to CERD and assisting law firms, NGOs and institutions in creating their reports. IHRLG facilitated the preparation of 11 shadow reports issued by the following groups:
Americans for a Fair Chance, National Congress of American Indians, National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, American Civil Liberties Union, Community Voices Heard, Alaska Inter-Tribal Council / Alaska Federation of Natives, Inc., American University, Washington College of Law, and the Gonzaga University, Center for Law and Justice.
- Drafting a Call to Action, signed by more than 45 US civil rights leaders, urging the United Nations to require the United States to address racial bias in the US criminal justice system. The Call to Action was presented to the UN Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.