US Obligation To The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Voices of Mass Incarceration: A Symposium

US Obligation To The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

A United Nations body has issued a damning report blasting the United States for its rampant violations of a major human rights treaty that it ratified in 1992. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, or ICCPR, enshrines fair trial rights, the right to life, to vote, and to freedom of expression and assembly. It prohibits torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. It also forbids discrimination in the enjoyment of civil and political rights based on race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status (which includes sexual orientation).
The Human Rights Committee is a group of 18 independent experts that monitor the implementation of the ICCPR by its States Parties, each of whom files periodic reports on their progress in implementing the obligations in the treaty.

In its November 3, 2023 report on U.S compliance with the ICCPR, the Human Rights Committee found 30 some violations of the treaty by the United States. Racial discrimination permeated two-thirds of the documented U.S. violations.

In addition to discrimination based on race, the Committee found several instances of discrimination against women, particularly in the area of reproductive rights. The Committee also found discrimination on the basis of real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.

Guest – Marjorie Cohn is professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, former president of the National Lawyers Guild, and a member of the national advisory boards of Assange Defense and Veterans for Peace, and the bureau of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers. Her books include The United States and Torture: Interrogation, Incarceration, and Abuse and Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral and Geopolitical Issues. Marjorie is founding dean of the Peoples Academy of International Law. Her article about the report of the Human Rights Committee was published last week by Truthout.


Voices of Mass Incarceration: A Symposium

Opening with a keynote discussion featuring Angela Davis, Pam Africa, Julia Wright, and Johanna Fernndez, the event featured two dozen experts and artists working and studying incarceration and its wide-ranging effects on society. The second day of the symposium also marked the opening of the Mumia Abu-Jamal papers for research at the John Hay Library with the launch of the exhibit,Mumia Abu-Jamal: A Portrait of Mass Incarceration. This exhibition centers on the writing, music and art of Mumia Abu-Jamal, whose papers anchor the John Hay Librarys Voices of Mass Incarceration in the United States collection. Mumia has been imprisoned for 43 years for allegedly killing Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner.

One of the panels focused on how systemic changes have strained the existing healthcare system. With 44% of prison detainees receiving a psychiatric diagnosis, prisons are now among the largest providers of healthcare, more so than major hospitals and other care facilities.

We are pleased to bring you the remarks of Hope Metcalf, Lecturer at Yale Law School, on medical care for incarcerated individuals including mental health and hepatitis C. Well also hear from Lauren Weinstock, Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at Brown University.

Hosted by attorneys Heidi Boghosian and Marjorie Cohn

**You find more video and information from the symposium here

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