The United States, so comfortable judging the human rights performance and policies of other countries, had a second review of its own record on May 11th. The status of human rights for all in the U.S. was reviewed by UN Member States at the Human Rights Council (HRC) in a process that is called the "Universal Periodic Review."
The U.S. government submitted an official report that was supplemented by alternative information compiled in stakeholder reports to bring attention to human rights issues that need addressing. This peer review offers one of the last opportunities to pressure the Obama administration to meet international human rights obligations, including those related to the realization of women's rights and economic, social and cultural rights.
Groups from a wide coalition of human rights organizations under the umbrella of the U.S. Human Rights Network observed the review. Our organization, the Center for Women's Global Leadership (CWGL), based at Rutgers University, was also represented in Geneva, hoping to bring attention to women's rights and economic policy. However, the lack of an inter-connected and holistic approach to the realization of human rights for all persons in the U.S. proved to be a stumbling block we had not anticipated. This was because, in this instance, the vast majority of the 117 UN member states that engaged in the dialogue accepted a myopic view of human rights and went along with it.