Call for inputs: Upcoming country visit to the United States of America


Deadline:
​7 November 2021
Purpose:
​To prepare and inform the Special Rapporteur's country visit to the United States of America, planned from 8 to 22 November 2021.

Background and objectives:

Pursuant to the Human Rights Council resolution 43/8 and at the invitation of the Government of the United States of America, the UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues will undertake a fact-finding visit to the United States of America from 8 to 22 November 2021. The programme of the visit will include meetings with Government officials, federal and state institutions, as well as NGOs, activists, academics and other individuals and civil society organisations working on human rights and minority issues. The Special Rapporteur will start and conclude his visit in Washington D.C. He also intends to travel to other locations.

At the end of his mission, the Special Rapporteur will debrief the Government officials on his preliminary findings. In line with established practice, he will also hold a press conference at the end of his visit in order to share the preliminary findings with the broader public. Additional information on the time and the venue of the press conference will be shared in the coming weeks.

The report on the visit to United States of America will be presented by the Special Rapporteur to the United Nations Human Rights Council in March 2023.

Call for inputs

In preparation of this visit, the Special Rapporteur would like to invite all interested individuals and organizations including persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities, representatives of civil society organizations, experts and academics to provide information on the human rights situation of persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities in the United States of America. This also includes members of the sign language community as persons belonging to linguistic minorities.

The Special Rapporteur is interested in information on measures undertaken by the United States of America on the issues of relevance to his mandate, including in terms of legislative, policy and institutional framework, as well as in terms of identified challenges and avenues for improvement. More specifically, the Special Rapporteur would like to receive information on the following areas:

1.General situation of persons belonging to minorities

a) Discussion about the approach to minority issues in the United States, and information about the ethnic, religious and linguistic diversity in the country.

b) Discussion about specific laws and policies relevant to the protection and promotion of the human rights of persons belonging to minorities.

c) Special focus on the existing US anti-discrimination framework, particularly in reference to the prohibition of discrimination on the basis of ethnicity, religion or language, and Government initiatives towards strengthening this framework

d) Discussion about the overall human rights legal and institutional framework and how it addresses issues pertaining to the rights of ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities

e) Good practices, challenges and latest developments in this area.

2.The guarantee of the right to effective political participation of minorities, particularly the right to vote and of political representation

a) Discussion about the political representation of minorities, including minority women, at federal and states levels.

b) Updated statistical information (if available) on minority representation in political institutions at the federal and state levels, as well as to their exercise of the right to vote.

c) Barriers to the political representation of minorities and to the exercise of their right to vote, particularly in light of the right to equality without discrimination in international human rights law.

d) Good practices (specific initiatives, institutions or practices), challenges and latest developments in this area

3.Education and the linguistic rights of minorities

a) Legal, policy and institutional framework with regard to access to quality education by members belonging to minorities.

b) Particular focus on the existing framework with regard to education in and teaching of minority languages.

c) Statistical data on access to education by minorities, as well as on the use of minority language in education

d) Good practices, challenges and specific data pertaining to the use of minority languages in the public administration, public service and institutions, as well as in the provision of public services.

e) For all the above areas, a particular attention will be placed also on the use of American Sign Language for members of the deaf community.

4.Access to Justice and administration of Criminal Justice

a) Specific measures undertaken to guarantee equal access to justice by persons belonging to ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities

b) Updated information regarding minorities in the criminal justice and correctional system, including disaggregated data in incarceration rates and effects on minorities.

c) Discussion about the legal, policy and institutional framework to tackle hate crimes, hate speech and incitement to hatred targeting minorities, including identification and prosecution of such cases

d) Good practices and challenges in relation to ensuring equal protection of the human rights of minorities in relation to access to justice and the administration of the criminal justice system.

5.Hate speech and hate crimes

e) Discussion on the legal and institutional framework to tackle hate crimes, hate speech targeting minorities, including in social media.

f) More specifically, discussion on the legal and institutional framework which protects freedom of expression and prohibits advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence, as required in international human rights law.

g) Identification of regulatory approaches to hate crimes and hate speeches, including financial or other liability of social media platforms, as federal and state/territorial levels, if any.

h) Disaggregated data (on the grounds of ethnicity, religion and language) for reported hate crimes, as well as reported instances of hate speech, including on social media platforms.

Written submissions should be sent to ohchr-minorityissues@un.org, preferably before 7 November 2021, indicating in the subject line: Contribution for the country visit to the USA. Please limit your submissions to a maximum of 2,500 words. Reports, academic studies and other types of background materials can be attached as an annex to the submission. All submissions will be treated confidentially by the Special Rapporteur and his team and for the sole purpose of preparing for the county visit. Please indicate however if you wish the name of your organisation be released publicly, as part of the Special Rapporteur's report, identifying those who have provided written submissions. These inputs will then be listed in the Special Rapporteurs acknowledgements.