On August 23, 2010, the United States State Department submitted its first domestic human rights report to the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC). In 2006, the HRC established the Universal Periodic Review process to assess each U.N. member nation’s adherence to their human rights obligations under international law every four years.
However, in addition to the federally submitted report, a comprehensive shadow report was also published by the U.S. Human Rights Network, a non-governmental human rights organization. The report represents a compilation of 26 independent civil society submissions covering a vast range of human rights issues, and has been endorsed by more than 200 human rights organizations and advocacy groups in the United States. In a statement released by the U.S. Human Rights Network, University of Pennsylvania Law School Professor Sarah Paoletti, Senior Coordinator for the Network’s UPR Project, testifies: “Comparing the State Department report with the Network’s, it is clear that gaps remain in our respective understanding of the issues and the solutions needed to resolve them. We look forward to working with the Administration to narrow that gap in future months.”
The United States’ human rights record is scheduled for review in a series of hearings by the U.N. Human Rights Council on November 5th in Geneva, Switzerland.