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Asian Law Caucus Submits Shadow Report to UN Human Rights Committee

October 17, 2023 Guides & Reports

In 2023, for the first time since 2014, the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Committee is reviewing the United States’ compliance with a major civil rights treaty, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

This week, ALC’s staff are in Geneva alongside partners at the Center for Constitutional Rights, Amnesty International, Alliance San Diego, and the ACLU among many others. As representatives of U.S. civil society, we joined briefings and spoke with UN committee staff to ensure they understand our clients’ experiences and how the communities we serve are subject to unjust profiling, surveillance, and constitutional violations in the name of national security. Later this year, the UN Human Rights Committee will issue an official evaluation of U.S. compliance with the ICCPR and recommendations for U.S. officials.

Jamil Dakwar, Human Rights Program Director at ACLU, Caroline Marks, NSCR Staff Attorney at ALC, and Gabriela Villareal, Policy Director at ALC pose for a picture in front of a UN Human Rights backdrop.

Jamil Dakwar, Human Rights Program Director at ACLU, Caroline Marks, NSCR Staff Attorney at ALC, and Gabriela Villareal, Policy Director at ALC, in Geneva to hold the U.S. accountable during the ICCPR review.

Ahead of our trip to Geneva, we submitted a shadow report to the UN Human Rights Committee detailing how U.S. national security programs threaten people’s rights to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; freedom of assembly and association; and freedom of opinion and expression. Our report calls on the UN Human Rights Committee to hold the U.S. to account and ensure that we all have the freedom to be ourselves, put down roots, and build a better life for the generations to come.

As our shadow report explains in greater depth, U.S. federal law enforcement has a long history of unjustly surveilling Arab, Middle Eastern, South Asian, Black, Muslim, and LGBTQIA+ communities, as well as people protesting for racial justice, an end to police violence, end to wars, and much more. FBI agents have repeatedly surprised our clients at their home, school, or work without a warrant or justification, and used Joint Terrorism Task Forces or other “Countering Violent Extremism” programs to surveil and profile people because of where they were born or their religion. As a result, our clients and their loved ones have felt compelled to hide the aspects of their identities to protect their freedoms and rights.

Our report also shares the experiences of our clients while traveling or immigrating, including those who have been subject to harassment and discriminatory treatment at borders and in airports. Moreover, the report relays our growing concerns with how the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice are using opaque and biased algorithms and databases to flag more people for investigation and potential loss of their citizenship, a process called denaturalization.

As U.S. advocates and community members convene in Geneva this week to defend our civil and human rights, please take a few minutes to read the Asian Law Caucus’ shadow report and reports from our partners at the Center for Constitutional Rights and International Refugee Assistance Project. Our voices were heard by the Human Rights Committee members, the U.S. delegation and the world at large, but this is only the beginning. We demand change and will not stop advocating on behalf of those communities we serve. We all deserve to live with dignity.

To learn more about how you can take action to protect your rights, visit our website and find resources on: