Bring Human Rights Home with a National Human Rights Institution
Democracies around the world – including key U.S. allies – have independent bodies dedicated to monitoring and promoting human rights. In this regard, the United States is a shameful outlier. Not a single domestic agency has the mandate to coordinate the implementation of our international human rights commitments – falling woefully short of meeting international standards.
The Biden administration has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to put the U.S. on a path toward compliance with international human rights obligations by establishing a federal commission to study the creation of a National Human Rights Institution (NHRI). We, the people, must do all we can to make sure this happens: Sign our petition today to tell President Biden that the time to act on a National Human Rights Institution is now.
The ACLU has long urged the U.S. government to take bold action on human rights – and now, alongside a broad coalition of civil and human rights groups and members of Congress – we are urging the White House to take this critical move toward realizing President Biden’s promise to demonstrate that our commitment to human rights starts at home.
An NHRI would help bring the U.S. in line with international human rights norms and full compliance with ratified treaties, including the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. It would promote the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and everyone’s civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.
National Human Rights Institutions look different around the world, but a NHRI would be able to:
- Promote and monitor the implementation of human rights obligations
- Provide a public forum for the investigation of violations of human rights
- Create a platform for recommendations to improve human rights compliance
- Establish mechanisms to advise and inform legislative, judicial, and executive branches on human rights standards
- Support and provide guidance to state and local human rights commissions
By creating a presidential commission to study establishing a National Human Rights Institution, the Biden administration will be able to seek input from diverse civil society groups including social justice and civil rights groups, lawmakers, experts, and others that will inform how a NHRI would best address the needs of our society.
President Biden can establish such a commission through executive order – without needing to consult Congress or deal with regulatory hurdles. The United States is decades late, but by taking steps toward creating a NHRI now, we can strengthen our ability to bring human rights home and our credibility in promoting human rights around the world. We need your support: Sign our petition today.