NAACP Responds to ICCPR Treaty Review

The United Nations Human Rights Committee raised issues of felony disenfranchisement, stand your ground laws, racial profiling, and the school to prison pipeline during a two-day hearing in Geneva.

A delegation from the NAACP was present for ICCPR review with Association members, NAACP Board of Directors, Kemba Smith Foundation, Florida Rights Restoration Coalition and PICO.

The NAACP released the following statement in response to the ICCPR treaty compliance review:

Clayola Brown, Member NAACP Board of Directors says that all of the issues must be raised with unity:

“The struggle cannot be fought in isolation. It must be universal. Working at the United Nations this week has clarified this point as we work to advance human rights from all people, no matter their nationality or color.”

Hilary O. Shelton, Sr. Vice President for Policy and Advocacy; Washington Bureau Director notes the need for racism to be eliminated from the U.S. self-defense policies:

“We thank the Human Rights Committee for their elegant intervention of the U.S. delegation requesting updates on government initiatives to close the school to prison pipeline. The NAACP looks forward to working with the Department of Justice and the Department of Education to fully implement the new guidance.”

We are also gratified that the Committee raised our major concerns with the continued growth and expansion of stand your ground laws.  We hope the U.S. delegation fully recognizes the need for our country to eliminate this racist and deadly equation and restore civility back to our nation’s self-defense policies.”

Jotaka Eaddy, NAACP Sr. Director for Voting Rights and Sr. Advisor to the President and CEO hopes the U.S. government will adhere to the ICCPR treaty:

“We are pleased the UN Human Rights Committee raised serious questions regarding the denial of voting rights to citizens in the U.S., specifically regarding comprehensive steps to ‎eradicate the practice of felony disenfranchisement. While the U.S. government delegation response did not provide the steps, we remain hopeful that they will work at every level of government comply with ‎the ICCPR treaty. “

Additionally, we are happy that the Committee continued to press the U.S. on the discriminatory nature of voting laws implemented in the aftermath of Shelby County vs. Holder and the fact that DC residents have no true voting rights.  These failings continue to diminish our Democracy and must be addressed immediately.”

Dennis Gaddy, NAACP Delegate and Executive Director of the Community Success Initiative was honored to represent other directly implacted individuals on an international platform: 

“As I sat in the UN today listening as our issue of felony disenfranchisement being raised up as a potential human rights violation, I could not help but think, what a great feeling it is to be a part of an international history.  To be here, standing in the gap for those formerly incarcerated, is an honor and truly humbling.”

Desmond Meade, NAACP Delegate and State Director for PICO Florida Lifelines to Healing Campaign notes the global need to erase felony disenfranchisement in the U.S. and abroad:

“I am encouraged by the quality of questions posed to the US Delegation by the Human Rights Committee members as it relates to felon disfranchisement. It reminds me that our fight to restore the rights of over 1.54 million Floridians is not an isolated one, but rather a fight in which the whole world is watching and concerned.”

Jessica Chiappone, NAACP Delegate and Vice President for Florida Rights Restoration hopes the U.S. government will acknowledge felony disenfranchisement as a human rights violation:

“I was impressed with the questions presented to the US by the Human Rights Committee. It was evident that the committee listened to the concerns of the NGOs and those impacted. Although there was a high level of involvement from the US delegation on many levels, specifically from Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Roy Austin, I was not as impressed with their response to felony disenfranchisement. This process is supposed to be a collaborative effort to correct potential violations of the ICCPR. However, that cannot be done if the US fails to even acknowledge a violation.  While appreciating US Attorney General Holder’s recent statement regarding the need to repeal laws that prohibit felons from voting upon completion of their sentence, there still remains much to be done to achieve this goal and be compliant with the ICCPR.”