CALL TO ACTION FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION on SEPTEMBER 23, 2013
Dear Allies and Friends,
Please help us spread the word about the important National Day of Action on September 23, 2013!
On September 23, 2013, we will come together to make a clear proclamation to our local, state and federal governments, that all human rights are interdependent--not independent. We, social justice, civil liberties and other human rights advocates and activists of all stripes, will make it clear that, whatever our particular organizational focus, we are all fighting for the same goal: to ensure the dignity of every person in the U.S. and to hold the government accountable for protecting and fulfilling our human rights.
This Day of Action is all about the ICCPR--International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights--a tool that we have underutilized for far too long. The ICCPR is a human rights treaty that was drafted by the United Nations (UN) and that the U.S. Government (along with 166 other countries) signed and accepted as law in 1992 [the Treaty can be reviewed at http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CCPR.aspx See also the US Human Rights Network (USHRN) summary of ICCPR at http://www.ushrnetwork.org/resources-media/ushrn-summary-articles-iccpr]. Since then, that same government has done little to let us--their people--know about the rights they pledged to protect under this treaty. The federal government has done even less to let local governments know about their responsibility to uphold these rights. This letter is a plea for all of us to act with a shared vision of justice. We must act to make sure our grassroots supporters and members know about this important document and the human rights it protects. We must act to demand our guaranteed rights. And we must act to hold government accountable for the denial of these rights.
The ICCPR treaty offers a broad range of protections including the rights to vote, to gender equality, to organize, to move and to travel, as well as freedoms from discrimination, from torture and illegal detention, freedom of speech and assembly, freedom of and from religion, and many other civil and political rights. With the help of our members and supporters, we can insist upon the protection of these rights. Let us all take this opportunity to benefit, individually and collectively, by insisting on the enforcement of the ICCPR. Only by educating ourselves about these rights can we stand together to secure them.
A Day of Action is even more important this year because the United States will be reviewed in October by the United Nations on its record under the ICCPR. A committee of independent human rights experts will determine whether the U.S. is living up to its obligations under this Treaty. The central question will be: Is the United States protecting and fulfilling our rights as required by the ICCPR? The primary focus will be on a list of questions put together by the UN committee and which many of our organizations have helped to shape. Other issues, pertaining to rights covered by the Treaty but not specifically mentioned in the official list of questions, should also be brought to light. UN procedures encourage organizations to give input that will allow their members to hold the U.S. accountable for its violations and failures under the Treaty. We know that the government’s report on the ICCPR does not provide adequate information and personal stories detailing the multitude of civil, political, and other human rights violations imposed upon our peoples. It is our job to highlight these struggles by exposing the many examples of the government's failure to protect our human rights and dignity.
Join us in educating ourselves on the rights ensured by the ICCPR and in taking action nationwide--whether by social media, marches, letters, or other creative means--to let the public know we are a unified movement. We do this in preparation for the October review by the UN. Let’s make sure the government knows we will hold them accountable for failing to meet our fundamental human rights!
What can YOUR organization do?
JOIN A NATIONAL ACTION:
Use social media to call on the State Department [@StateDept] to hold a town hall with the U.S. delegation to Geneva. Post on Facebook, tweet using the hashtag #ICCPRTownhall, and demand the town hall. Begin this campaign on September 23 and continue through the time that our delegation will be in Geneva, October 12th through 19th. We will continue to generate sample tweets throughout this time period and publicize them for your use. Be sure to tag us using @USHRN each time you post.
JOIN/HOST A LOCAL ACTION:
- Write or participate in a shadow report for submission to the UN telling your stories and proposing your solutions: http://www.ushrnetwork.org/resources-media/iccpr-shadow-report-template
- Have an event, such as a rally, a Honk N’ Wave or a public forum. Visit the USHRN website for event ideas: http://www.ushrnetwork.org/resources-media/event-planning-ideas-day-action
- Conduct a photo petition using these suggested instructions: http://www.ushrnetwork.org/resources-media/photo-petition-instructions
Make sure your participants sign a photo release form: http://www.ushrnetwork.org/resources-media/photo-petition-release-form
- Invite your elected representatives to participate in a listening session and/or send them a letter educating them about human rights under the ICCPR: http://www.ushrnetwork.org/resources-media/template-letter-state-authorities-regarding-us-review-under-iccpr
- Email or call a member of the ICCPR task force for more details on what allies are doing: ICCPR.firstname.lastname@example.org
- Post your actions on the USHRN website so all can join in solidarity, or sign on to, your action pledges by forwarding the information to email@example.com
- Join a conference call in September to brainstorm ideas and update allies on your planned events.
- More information can be found on the USHRN website via this link: