Issue Brief posted March 11, 2014
Human Rights Committee’s Review of U.S. Record: Things to Watch For
On March 13–14, a U.S. delegation will defend America’s human rights record before the Human Rights Committee (HRC), the treaty body that monitors compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The delegation should expect harsh criticism from the HRC, whose members regularly accuse America of committing gross violations of human rights.…
Backgrounder posted November 15, 2013
U.S. National Human Rights Institution: A Bad Idea
For several years elements of the international human rights community have advocated that the United States should establish a National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) to promote and monitor implementation of international human rights treaties, norms, and standards in the United States. However, creating a NHRI is a bad idea.
Human rights activists would use a NHRI to…
Issue Brief posted September 11, 2013
Syria Policy Should Be Driven by U.S. Interests, Not the U.N.
There are good reasons why Americans, under the current circumstances, should question a military intervention in Syria. But President Obama has muddied the waters further by giving as much weight to international law as he did to U.S. interests in presenting his case for military intervention, frequently expressing the need to enforce an “international norm”…
Backgrounder posted June 24, 2013
Ratifying the Disabilities Convention Will Not Help Americans with Disabilities at Home or Abroad
The United States should ratify a treaty only if it advances its interests. In the context of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), U.S. interests may be characterized in both domestic and international terms: Would ratifying the CRPD benefit the lives of Americans with disabilities living in the United States? Would ratifying the CRPD…
Issue Brief posted May 16, 2013
U.N. Human Rights Experts: More Transparency and Accountability Required
Recent statements by United Nations Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur Richard Falk rekindled a debate over how such experts should be held accountable when their behavior violates the conduct expected of them. Moreover, the scrutiny elicited by Falk’s statements has exposed the fact that funding for special procedures deserves more transparency, especially regarding…
Backgrounder posted April 10, 2013
Drone Strikes: The Legality of U.S. Targeting Terrorists Abroad
The debate over the circumstances in which lethal force may be used against terrorist organizations operating from foreign territory is not new. Nor is it a new reality that the United States must confront armed, non-state actors that threaten its national security and the lives of its people.
Lethal force, including targeted drone strikes, may lawfully be used against an…
Backgrounder posted December 4, 2012
The U.S. Can Mine the Deep Seabed Without Joining the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea
The United States can mine the deep seabed without acceding to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). For more than 30 years, through domestic law and bilateral agreements, the U.S. has established a legal framework for deep seabed mining. In fact, U.S. accession would penalize U.S. companies by subjecting them to the whims of an…
Testimony posted November 27, 2012
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (Treaty Doc. 112-7)
Testimony before theUnited States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
July 12, 2012
Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee:
Thank you for inviting me to testify before you today regarding the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD or Convention).
I had the opportunity to testify before this Committee a…
Issue Brief posted July 9, 2012
Law of the Sea Treaty: Bad for American Energy Policy
The Obama Administration is pushing for accession to the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which would expose the United States to baseless environmental lawsuits, including suits based on alleged U.S. contributions to global climate change. Accession would also require the U.S. to transfer billions of dollars in oil and gas royalties generated on its…