In Pursuit of Changing Rhetoric to Reality
Recently, we brought you a report on the first comprehensive review of the U.S. human rights record on an international stage and shared how video was incorporated, for the first time, as part of the Universal Periodic Review process.
To follow up and provide you with detailed information about the U.S. Universal Periodic Review (US-UPR) process and opportunities to take part in protecting human rights in America, we would like to share an interview with Joshua Cooper, the USHRN-UPR Geneva Coordinator. Joshua is experienced in coordinating civil society participation in these reviews as he has worked with over a dozen other countries assisting them with their preparations. He does this in his spare time when he is not lecturing at the University of Hawaii and directing the Four Freedoms Forum and the Hawaii Institute for Human Rights.
In Geneva, we asked him these key questions:
- What is the UPR?
- Can you describe the procedures and documents that comprise the UPR process?
- How did U.S. human rights organizations, advocates and activists prepare for the first US-UPR?
- Tell us about the work members of the U.S. civil society did in Geneva in the lead up to the US-UPR?
- What are the most important lessons for civil society to take away from the 2010 UPR in Geneva?
- The review of the U.S. human rights record took place on November 5, 2010 and you were there. How do you feel the review went?
- With four years until the next US-UPR, what steps do we need to take in order to turn rhetoric into reality?
Excerpts from Josh’s answers are below. Watch the full interview (about 30 minutes) where he provides comprehensive and detailed insights into the US-UPR process, preparations, reactions and next steps.
To learn more about the review, here are the key documents:
- August 12, 2010: UPR Report prepared by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
- August 23, 2010: UPR Report prepared by the United States and Submitted to the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights
- April 2010: Summary UPR Report to the UN submitted by Civil Society
- November 9, 2010: UN Human Rights Council (HRC) draft report on the first Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the U.S. human rights record.
- November 9, 2010: Initial Response of the U.S. to Recommendations of the United Nations Human Rights Council
To become involved in protecting human rights in the United States, please go to www.ushrn.org/campaign_upr where concrete Take Action opportunities will be coming out soon. You can also stay updated on the campaign via the WITNESS website.