Advocates for LGBTQ, indigenous, and reproductive rights, as well as those fighting discrimination, turned their backs on the United States government on Wednesday in a silent protest against what they saw as inadequate solutions to their human rights issues on the part of the federal government.
Protesters from Guam, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and elsewhere led the charge as U.S. Ambassador Michele Taylor finished up a two-day hearing on the United States before the independent Human Rights Committee. This was the committee’s routine human rights evaluation of all United Nations member states.
This fall, Geneva hosted public sessions for six countries, including Haiti, Iran, and Venezuela, to assess their compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, one of the few international human rights treaties ratified by the United States.
Taylor, who defended the United States’ commitment to the treaty, said it was “a moral obligation at the very heart of our democracy” and that the United States “leads by example by our transparency, our openness, and our humble attitude to our own human rights difficulties,” prompting the protest.
U.S. Ambassador to the Human Rights Council Taylor remarked, “You have heard over the past two days about many of the concrete ways we are achieving our duties under the treaty, and you have also heard our pledge to do more.” The issues are complex for everyone to discuss, and I get that.
According to American Civil Liberties Union’s human rights program director Jamil Dakwar, the U.S. delegation “decided to adhere to prepared, broad, and often useless comments” when questioned by the committee.
He even went so far as to say that artificial intelligence-generated responses sometimes looked more qualitative.
The director of a local community group, Andrea Guerrero, called the American comments “very disappointing” since they only defended and defended the justification of U.S. police use of force.
Guerrero, whose group launched the “Start With Dignity” campaign across the southwestern states, denounces police enforcement abuse, discrimination, and impunity.
For the first time in nine years, the United States’ compliance with the covenant was reviewed, and around 140 activists from a wide range of groups made the trip to Geneva to participate.
Hawaiian traditional midwife Ki’I Kaho’ohanohano spoke before the committee on the maternal health care crisis in Hawaii and beyond, and she blamed the United States for “deflecting” their repeated queries.
She complained that “Stonewall — as usual,” there had been no reply to her questions.