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03 October 2019
Universal Periodic Review Stakeholder Reports
The Universal Periodic Review (or UPR) is a process set forth by the United Nations Human Rights Council that strives to improve the human rights situations in all of the member states of the UN. A rotative system is set in place so that, while reviews occur every year, each member state is reviewed every five years. The United States of America is set to be reviewed next on May 11th, 2020, during the 36th Session.  You can learn more about the United States' last review in 2015 here.

In striving for the most effective and comprehensive approach to the review of the human rights situation on the grounds of these member states, varying stakeholders at the national and international level contribute information to the leading reviewers. This information includes a report from the government of the nation itself that is being reviewed, as well as reports from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) (Read more about these aforementioned processes here). 

At the local level, participation by civil society is also encouraged, as this information likewise includes reports prepared by non-governmental stakeholders that feel as though they have recognized a pressing issue that perhaps has not been recently addressed in a review of the country, and could potentially be left out of being addressed in a forthcoming session. The United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA) compiled a Stakeholder Report that was submitted in September of 2019 in efforts to inform the May 2020 review. This review drew on the strength of the organization’s innate essence as a grassroots group to emphasize the relevance of four key themes that individual nationwide stakeholders felt as though must be addressed by the UN. These themes are: “...the rights of migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees; gender equality and combatting human trafficking; the right to water; and the human rights of older persons.”

Beginning in early 2019, the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area (UNA-NCA) teamed up with other D.C.- based NGOs in an effort to conduct a similar survey of key National Capital Area-specific human rights concerns. In order to find out what issues D.C. area residents believed to be the most pressing in terms of human rights in the capital area, a public survey was conducted. It concluded that housing and homelessness emerged as the greatest human rights concern, followed by poverty and inequality, and D.C. statehood. Community roundtables were then held to discuss these specific issues further, and additional research was supplemented by the George Washington University Law School International Human Rights Clinic (GW IHR Clinic) in the conducting of formal studies on these problems. 

This past week, the results of these studies culminated in the submission of two formal reports to the OHCHR to be considered as part of the UPR for the United States of America in Geneva in 2020. 

One report is entitled Gender Equity in Our Nation’s Capital, Washington, D.C., United States of America, and was prepared by the UNA-NCA along with the Gender Justice Project (GJP) at the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law (UDC Law). This report draws attention to five key human rights concerns pertaining to gender equity in the D.C. area. These concerns address all women, girls, and the LGBTQ community, but primarily center around low-income women and women of color, and include homelessness, lack of income security, lack of appropriate health care, alarming levels of gender-based violence, and mass incarceration.

The other report was prepared in conjunction with The DC Human Rights City Alliance (DCHRCA) and the George Washington University Law School International Human Rights Clinic (GW IHR Clinic), and is called The Situation of Human Rights in the District of Columbia as Concerns the Lack of Statehood and Voting Rights as well as Entrenched Inequality and the Lack of Affordable Housing. This report recommends sustainable housing reform in D.C., as well as the passing into law of Congressional legislation H.R. 51, which would lead to the creation of the District of Columbia as the nation’s 51st state, thus eliminating human rights concerns over a lack of federal representation as well as local autonomy for residents of the D.C. area.



Read the Full Stakeholder Reports Below:

Gender Equity in Our Nation’s Capital, Washington, D.C., United States of America


The Situation of Human Rights in the District of Columbia as Concerns the Lack of Statehood and Voting Rights as well as Entrenched Inequality and the Lack of Affordable Housing

Read the Full Press Release Here.