Law School to Host Human Rights Consultation with Obama Administration and Human Rights Advocates


Media Contact:  Nancy Goldfarb, 212-854-1584  [email protected]
Public Affairs Office 212-854-2650 [email protected]
New York, Feb. 24, 2010—The Human Rights Institute at Columbia Law School, the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, and the Urban Justice Center are co-sponsoring a human rights consultation with the Obama Administration on February 26. It is one of several events the government is holding across the country to solicit feedback and recommendations on how effectively the U.S. is complying with its human rights obligations. 
The consultations aim to foster cooperation and engagement with civil society as the Administration works to ensure the promotion and protection of human rights. Additional consultation locations include Birmingham, Chicago, New Orleans, El Paso, San Francisco and Dearborn.  These meetings will also assist the government in developing its report for submission to the United Nations’ Universal Periodic Review (“UPR”) of the U.S., which will take place in November.
During the UPR the United Nations Human Rights Council will examine how the U.S. is complying with its human rights obligations under the U.N. Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, treaties and other applicable international law. 
The consultation marks a milestone for human rights advocacy, providing a forum for civil society to engage with Administration officials regarding the human rights record of the U.S.  The meeting will also allow advocates to make recommendations for how the U.S. can uphold its obligations to protect, respect and fulfill human rights.
This is also an unprecedented opportunity to recognize the work of the many advocates who have been working for improved human rights protections. The co-sponsors have worked with the U.S. Human Rights Network UPR Project and the greater New York community to plan the consultation and conduct outreach.  
The day-long New York Consultation will focus on the promotion and protection of human rights relating to housing, employment and labor, education, health and criminal justice.  Sessions will include presentations by a range of community members involved in human rights advocacy. Professor Theodore Shaw, Professor of Professional Practice in Law, will provide framing remarks to participants. At the end of the consultation, government representatives will take part in two site visits. 
Representatives from the State Department, the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor and the Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division are slated to attend.
As a member of the U.S. Human Rights Network UPR Project, the Human Rights Institute at Columbia Law School will play an ongoing role in promoting government accountability as part of the UPR process. More information on how to participate in the UPR process within the U.S. and in Geneva, where the U.S. review will take place, can be found here. Additional materials about the UPR can be found on the State Department's website.
Columbia Law School, founded in 1858, stands at the forefront of legal education and of the law in a global society. Columbia Law School joins its traditional strengths in international and comparative law, constitutional law, administrative law, business law and human rights law with pioneering work in the areas of intellectual property, digital technology, sexuality and gender, criminal, national security, and environmental law.