On April 28, 2009 the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Doudou Diene, released the report of his 2008 Mission to the United States and his recommendations for addressing racial discrimination within the country. The report included and cited work produced by the USHRN supported Working Group on Juvenile Justice, as well as documents produced by several other Network members and working partners. Diene formally presented his report to the United Nations Human Rights Council on June 16, 2009.
During the 2008 visit USHRN and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, along with Gulf Coast organization and USHRN member Advocates for Environmental Human Rights, coordinated the Gulf Coast tour of and hearings with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Doudou Diène. Representatives from dozens of grassroots and community-based organizations in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana participated in the initial consultations, reporting and proceedings during the Special Rapporteur’s visit to the region. The Rapporteur listened to more than 10 hours of testimony by activists from all over the region and toured affected communities in Louisiana and Mississippi.
The Special Rapporteur made a total of ten recommendations, several of which echo recommendations put forward in USHRN’s 2008 CERD Shadow Report and it's Hold the U.S. Accountable: The Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) Human Rights Campaign, notably:
(a) the recommendation that Congress establish a bipartisan commission to evaluate the progress and failures in the fight against racism and the ongoing process of resegregation, particularly in housing and education, and to find responses to check these trends;
(b) the recommendation that the federal and Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi state governments increase assistance to survivors of Hurricane Katrina, especially in the area of housing;
(c) the recommendation that the Government discontinue the practice of issuing life sentences to criminal offenders under the age of 18;
(d) the recommendation that the Department of Education examine the impact of criminalization of school misbehavior.