Members of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention visited the U.S. in October 2016 to examine issues under its mandate and to identify good practices at both the federal and state level. They meet with civil society advocates, victims, lawyers, judges, and researchers in Washington D.C., Texas, California, and Illinois, and held a final press conference in Washington D.C. announcing their initial findings, conclusions, and recommendations at the end of the visit.
Since 2013, the Working Group has visited 9 countries, including Western countries such as Germany, Italy, and New Zealand. In these visits, the WG’s findings typically covered two arbitrary detention-related issue areas: criminal justice and immigration. Within criminal justice, there were a few key areas mentioned to varying degrees in the summaries of the reports: pre-trial detention, over-incarceration, preventive detention, prisons conditions, policing and accountability, and psychiatric detention, access to justice, and habeas corpus, discrimination, the war on drugs, among others. Within immigration, there were also a few key areas mentioned to varying degrees, including: detention, asylum-seekers and refugees, unaccompanied minors, and deportation. Recently, the Working Group adopted a set of guidelines and principles that is likely to inform their visit and their engagement with civil society advocates in the United States. Those guidelines and principles, titled the “Basic Principles and Guidelines on Remedies and Procedures on the Right of Anyone Deprived of His or Her Liberty by Arrest or Detention to Bring Proceedings Before Court”, are available here: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Detention/Pages/DraftBasicPrinciples.aspx.
The website of the Working Group is available here: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Detention/Pages/WGADIndex.aspx and a list of past reports from recent country visits is available here: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Detention/Pages/Visits.aspx.
Please find below some detailed information on the Civil Society briefings with the working groupin Washington D.C, San Antonio, Houston, San Diego, and Chicago. Should you have any questions regarding these briefings, please do not hesitate to contact the Secretariat of the Working Group (contact details provided at the bottom of this email) or the contact persons. RSVP required.
Washington D.C., 11 October (Tue), 8:00 - 9:30 and 18:00 - 20:00
Contact persons: Amy Fettig, firstname.lastname@example.org, Antonio M. Ginatta, email@example.com
Venue: Human Rights Watch, 1630 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC 20009
San Antonio, (on immigration detention related issues) 12 October (Wed), 18:00 – 20:00
Contact person: Denise Gilman, DGilman@law.utexas.edu
Venue: San Antonio Center for Legal and Social Justice, Room 310, St. Mary’s Law School, 2507 NW 36th Street, San Antonio, TX 78228
Houston, 15 October (Sat), 11:45 – 15:00
Contact person: Sandra G Thompson, sguerrat@Central.UH.EDU
Venue: University of Houston, Heritage Room
San Diego, 16 Oct (Sun), 16:00 – 18:00
Contact person: Esmeralda Flores, firstname.lastname@example.org
Venue: ACLU San Diego and Imperial Counties, 2760 Fifth Avenue, Suite 300, San Diego CA 92103
Chicago, 20 Oct (Thu), 11:00 - 13:00
Contact person: Vickie Casanova Willis, email@example.com
Venue: Northeastern Illinois University, Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies Auditorium, 700 E. Oakwood Blvd., Chicago, Illinois 60653
In case you would prefer a private meeting with the delegation of the Working Group, please kindly write to the Secretariat. As much as we would like to accommodate all requests, please note that the agenda of the delegation is already quite full. We are very grateful for your understanding and we apologize if your request could not be accommodated.
In addition, we would also like to inform you that the delegation will share with media its preliminary observations on the visit at a press conference to be held at the United Nations Information Center in Washington D.C (1775 K ST NW, 4th floor, Washington DC 20006), on 24 October 2016 at 11:30 a.m. You are also most welcome to participate in the press conference. Should you be interested in attending the press conference, please forward your name and the name of your organization to Ms. Karen F. Smyth (firstname.lastname@example.org, tel: +1 202-454-2106).
Should you have any other queries about the visit, please feel free to contact members of the Secretariat of the Working Group who will accompany the members in this visit: Ms. Lucie Viersma, (email@example.com, mobile: +41 79 444 3993), and Ms. Yiyao Zhang (firstname.lastname@example.org, mobile: +41 79 201 0123).