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

Report Reveals System Failures in U.S. Documentation of Hate Crimes

Report Reveals System Failures in U.S. Documentation of Hate Crimes

Geneva, Switzerland, Sept. 16, 2013: The International Center for Advocates Against Discrimination (ICAAD) submitted a Shadow Report to the United Nations Human Rights Committee on Sept. 13, 2013, for the upcoming review of United States (U.S.) compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

Read ICAAD’ Shadow Report

The Report finds the U.S. in violation of the ICCPR because it has failed to protect vulnerable communities from hate crimes. It highlights that under the current Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), only 3% percent of all hate crimes are documented through the UCR Program. Out of 14,575 participating law enforcement agencies in the UCR program, 86.7% of these agencies reported zero hate crimes in their jurisdiction, including 64 jurisdictions with a population over 100,000. The jurisdictions that reported zero hate crimes represent almost one third of the U.S. population.

The downstream effect of the massive gap in data collection results in the governments’ limited ability to justify mandating law enforcement training and documentation of hate crimes. Furthermore, identification of crime patterns to prevent, prosecute, and protect vulnerable communities from bias-motivated acts is severely compromised.

The Report concludes that the reporting gap that currently exists is unconscionable. The disparity leaves policy makers and other interested parties paralyzed to act because the true scope of the problem and the patterns of bias-motivated violence remain permanently walled off from consideration.”

In partnership with the US Human Rights Network (USHRN) ICCPR Task Force, a coalition that works to expand civil societies’ knowledge and participation in the ICCPR review process, ICAAD and other advocacy organizations jointly submitted Shadow Reports on many human rights issues and are participating in a national day of action in cities across the U.S.

After the U.N. Human Rights Committee reviews reports from the government and civil society NGOs it assesses compliance with the ICCPR and offers Concluding Observations, which are recommendations to improve the U.S.human rights record before the next review session.

Read the summary of the U.S. government’s submission to the UN Human Rights Committee

Report Reveals System Failures in U.S. Documentation of Hate Crimes

Shadow Report on Hate Crimes Submitted to the UN Human Rights Committee
Sources:FBI Hate Crimes Statistics 2011&Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report 2013

Civil society plays a formidable role in providing alternative reports (Shadow Reports) that directly highlight the human rights conditions on the ground while holding states accountable to the recommendations (Concluding Observations) issued by the Human Rights Committee.The U.S. review before the Human Rights Committee in Geneva, Switzerland is scheduled for October 2013. A delegation representing civil society organizations will be in attendance.

Brief History of U.S. Submissions before the Human Rights Committee

Upon ratification in 1992, the ICCPR became the supreme law of the land under the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which gives treaties the status of federal law.The U.S. Department of State is responsible for coordinating the government response as they submit themselves before the Human Rights Committee every four years. The U.S. submitted its First Periodic Report in 1994 under the Clinton administration. The Second and Third Periodic Reports were combined because they were delayed seven years, under the Bush administration, and were submitted in 2005. The Fourth Periodic Report was submitted on Dec. 30, 2011.

 

#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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