Gulf States Human Rights Working Group • Equity and Inclusion Campaign Greater New Orleans Organizer’s Roundtable • US Human Rights Network’s UPR Project

Gulf States Human Rights Working Group • Equity and Inclusion Campaign Greater New Orleans Organizer’s Roundtable • US Human Rights Network’s UPR Project
January 25, 2010

Media Briefing –
Tue., Jan. 26th at 6:30 pm
Human Rights Consultation open to the media
Wed., Jan. 27th from 9:00 – 9:30 am

Contact: Nathalie Walker, AEHR/Gulf States Human Rights Working Group, 504.453.6791
Kali Akuno, US Human Rights Network’s UPR Project, 510.593.3956

Obama Administration to Hold First Human Rights Consultation in New Orleans
Gulf Region Advocates Will Highlight Post-Katrina Injustices

New Orleans, LA– Members of the Obama Administration will travel to New Orleans to solicit information and recommendations regarding the US Government’s fulfillment of its obligation to protect human rights. New Orleans is the first of several cities where the administration will hold human rights consultation sessions with civil society. The purpose of these sessions is to assist the government in developing the U.S. human rights report for submission to the United Nations’ first Universal Periodic Review (“UPR”) in November 2010. More details about the UPR can be found on the US Human Rights Network’s website:

“Given the United Nations’ recent observations of human rights violations in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, we are pleased that the Obama Administration has chosen New Orleans as the first stop in its multi-city human rights consultation,” said Nathalie Walker, Co-Director and Attorney at Advocates for Environmental Human Rights, which is a co-coordinator of the Gulf States Human Rights Working Group. “We are encouraging people throughout the Gulf Region to participate in the New Orleans session,” she said.

As co-sponsors of this historic convening, the Gulf States Human Rights Working Group, the Equity and Inclusion Campaign, the Greater New Orleans Organizers’ Roundtable, and the US Human Rights Network’s UPR Project have worked with the Obama administration to plan the consultation and conducted outreach to Gulf Region communities.

“The UPR Process offers an important opportunity to address how the United States is meeting its human rights obligations under the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, to pressure the government to live up to its obligations, and to provide concrete and constructive recommendations about steps the U.S. can take to ensure the protection and promotion of rights and dignity for all,” says Kali Akuno, Director of Education, Training, & Field Operations, US Human Rights Network’s UPR Project.

“Like any other member state in the United Nations, the United States must be committed to full transparency; the UPR process provides the space for civil society to formally engage with the government around human rights challenges,” said Adren Wilson, National Director of the Equity and Inclusion Campaign. “We welcome the Obama Administration to New Orleans and the Gulf Coast with a spirit of cooperation, transparency and accountability,” he said.

The New Orleans consultation will focus on the fulfillment of human rights protections that address racial discrimination; criminal justice; economic justice and equity, including housing rights and forced evictions; health and healthcare; and environmental justice and sustainability. The human rights consultation will be held Wednesday, January 27th from 9 am – 3 pm at the Xavier University Student Center, which is open to the media from 9:00-9:30 am. On the evening before the consultation, co-sponsor organizations will hold a 6:00 pm reception/orientation that includes a 6:30 pm media briefing at the Children’s Defense Fund, 1452 N. Broad Street in New Orleans.