For Immediate Release Contact: Attorney. Standish E. Willis April 20, 2010 312-750-1950 Human Rights Organizations, NGOs and community organizers submit U.S. Political Prisoner Human Rights Violations and Recommendations to the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) CHICAGO, IL- Various NGOs, grassroots organizations, church groups, attorney organizations, elected officials, college professors, law professionals, students and concerned citizens prepared and submitted a cluster report to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) as a part of the Universal Periodic Review of the United States As a member of the United Nations, and a party to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Treaty, the United States will be reviewed by the UN Human Rights Council for the first time in November 2010 during the Universal Periodic Review (UPR).
This review will assess the United States’ adherence to its human rights obligations, human rights treaties ratified by the country, its voluntary commitments, and applicable international law.
This peer-review process will ascertain the progress each of the 192 UN member states have made in the area of human rights, as well as identify areas for improvement. As a part of the UPR process, a stakeholder cluster report concerning human rights abuses inflicted on Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War, along with recommendations for correcting these abuses has been submitted to the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights. In 1976, a Congressional Subcommittee, popularly known as the "Church Committee", was formed to investigate and study the FBI’s covert action programs. In its report,
The Church Committee concluded that the FBI had "conducted a sophisticated vigilante operation aimed squarely at preventing the exercise of First Amendment Rights of speech and association, on the theory that preventing the growth of dangerous groups and propagation of dangerous ideas would protect the national security and deter violence."
In fact, before COINTELPRO was laid to rest, it was responsible for maiming, murdering, false prosecutions and frame-ups, destruction, and mayhem throughout the country. In 1969, COINTELPRO tactics were responsible for the pre-dawn assassination of Black Panther leaders Fred Hampton and Mark Clark. Among COINTELPRO’S other targets were Dr. Martin Luther King, Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael), Huey Newton, and Leonard Peltier.
The report specifically cites numerous examples of the United States’ violation of its Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Convention on the Elimination of all form or Racial Discrimination (CERD) treaties as follows: U.S. political prisoners have been incarcerated as a result of the United States Government COINTELPRO, which targeted black national groups during the Civil Rights Movement U.S. political prisoners have languished in U.S. prisons over four decades due to the excessively punitive nature of lengthy sentences; they are routinely denied parole despite exemplary prison records; they are subject to prolonged isolation due to their status as political prisoners and not due to disciplinary infractions, which is a violation of the Convention Against Torture.
The human rights abuses of political prisoners has been exacerbated post- September 11th, resulting in prisoners held in solitary confinement 23 hours a day and denial of counsel without any charges or allegations against them with respect to national security
The complacence of the U.S. government in failing to develop strategies to investigate and rectify the conditions under which the prisoners were incarcerated, and the subsequent conditions of their confinement is itself a human rights violation. The report recommends the United States follows the example of UN member states Germany, France, and Spain by immediately and unconditionally releasing all U.S. Political Prisoners/Prisoners of War.
The report also recommends the United States to initiate criminal investigations into the conspiracy to commit murder and the murder of political activists targeted by COINTELPRO. n compliance with its human rights obligations the United States must adopt measures to ensure the right of political prisoners/prisoners of war to seek just and adequate reparation to redress acts of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, and to design effective measures to prevent repetition of such acts. —
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