"As societies build walls of separation between communities,
ICAAD works to remove each brick to illuminate our common humanity"

UPR: United States of America (USA), 22nd Session, 2015

Executive Summary

This report examines the United States’ (U.S.) compliance with its international human rights obligations in the protection of minorities and vulnerable groups from hate crimes and related discrimination. During the U.S.’ first cycle through the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), amongst 27 recommendations to the U.S. in relation to racial discrimination, five recommendations, by Ecuador, Venezuela, Egypt, Bangladesh, and Iran dealt with specifically with xenophobia and hate crimes. The recommendations on this issue came as no surprise as hate crimes and racially, ethnically, and religiously motivated violence against minorities and other vulnerable groups have been a consistent part of American history.

While the U.S. made progress in its hate crimes legal framework with the adoption of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act (HCPA) in 2009, revisiting coding of particularly effected communities, and by pursuing more aggressive enforcement by Federal Agencies, as this report reveals, the U.S. government continues to fail to protect minority communities from hate crimes through a combination of inadequate data collection, documenting only 3% of hate crimes, limited training of law enforcement to investigate and document hate crimes, and a failure to devote resources to monitor domestic extremists with supremacist ideologies.

The information submitted in this report is culled from a number of studies, analysis of statistics provided primarily by governmental sources, and comes through the experience of ICAAD’s attorneys working directly on hate crime cases, primarily involving incidents against Sikhs of South Asian descent.

  1. First Cycle Recommendations, Follow-Up, and the Recent Conclusions of the CERD Committee

Five countries gave recommendations directly associated with hate crimes and xenophobic acts in the first cycle. While all the recommendations requested that the U.S. take action to combat xenophobia, Ecuador’s recommendation referenced specific hate crimes against Ecuadorian nationals, and the recommendations of Iran and Egypt reference discriminatory acts against Arabs and Muslims. This is significant because of the number of high-profile incidents involving migrants, and the sustained increase in attacks against the Arab, Muslim, Sikh, and South Asian communities in the 13 years following the September 11, 2011 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York.

Read more by downloading the PDF below.

#RaiseYourShield

This Civil Rights and Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we’d like to challenge you to reflect on how fear may have influenced your opinions, especially of others, and to take a step towards the courage to overcome those fears. Why the focus on fear you might ask?

Famed marketer and author Simon Sinek in his book “Start with Why” outlines six typical manipulations used in sales and marketing, one of which is the use of fear. On fear, Sinek says, “When fear is being employed, facts are incidental. Deeply seated in our biological drive to survive, that emotion cannot be quickly wiped away with facts and figures.”

In the current political atmosphere, in the U.S. and around the globe, fear is often used by politicians and campaigners to polarize debates and to demonize marginalized communities, using them as scapegoats for the real economic, social, and political challenges that societies face.

Martin Luther King, Jr. understood how important fear is, so much so that he gave a sermon on it named “Antidotes for Fear.” It’s worth reading in its entirety, especially because it recognizes the importance, necessity, and creativity of fear (kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-papers/documents/draft-chapter-xiv-mastery-fear-or-antidotes-fear). However, particularly pertinent section was highlighted by King’s wife Coretta Scott King in her book “My life with Martin Luther King, Jr”:

“First Martin spoke of the many kinds of fear that troubled men and women in this period of change and "calamitous uncertainty"— fear of illness or economic disaster, fear of personal inadequacy in our highly competitive society. More terrible was the fear of death, even racial annihilation, in this atomic age, when the whole world teetered on "a balance of terror . . . fearful lest some diplomatic faux pas ignite a frightful holocaust."

"Some fears are normal and necessary," he said, like the fear of snakes in a jungle, but when they become neurotic and unchecked, they paralyze the will and reduce a man to apathy or despair. He quoted Emerson, who wrote, "He has not learned the lesson of life who does not every day surmount a fear."

How, then, to overcome fear? First, Martin said, "We must un-flinchingly face our fears . . . this confrontation will, to some measure, grant us power. . . . "Second, we can master fear through one of the supreme virtues known to man— courage . . . courage is the power of the mind to overcome fear.”"

MLK Coretta Scott King Simon Sinek
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