DHS designates point of contact for human rights complaints

Apparently in response to repeated inquiries from the Identity Project about what has happened to our most recent complaint to the DHS and TSA that their procedures violate the right to freedom of movement guaranteed by Article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the TSA has officially informed us that “the Department has designated the Officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties as the point of contact for Executive Order 13107” on implementation of human rights treaties.

Executive Order 13107 requires that, “The head of each agency shall designate a single contact officer who will be responsible for overall coordination of the implementation of this order” including “responding to … complaints about violations of human rights obligations that fall within its areas of responsibility or, if the matter does not fall within its areas of responsibility, referring it to the appropriate agency for response.”

Despite that clear requirement, none of our previous complaints of violations of the ICCPR have been acknowledged or answered. So far as we can determine, the July 22, 2010 letter we received from the TSA is the first public indication by any Federal agency, ever, of the designation of the point of contact for human rights complaints required of each agency by Executive Order 13107.

Since the TSA has, at the same time, said that they will take no action to investigate complaints unless the complaint is received while the violation is ongoing — which in most cases is impossible — we have forwarded our latest complaint and our previous unanswered complaints of violations of the ICCPR by the DHS and DHS component agencies to the DHS Officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties for Departmental action.  Our letter to the OCRCL: with attachments (2 MB), without attachments

[Immediate response the same day from Margo Schlanger, DHS Officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties: "I have received your email and, as requested, we will examine your complaints. "  But that was followed not by an acknowledgement letter  but by a "request for clarification" from the OCRCL. We responded but only in February 2011 did we finally receive confirmation that our complaints had docketed. Further correspondence with the DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL): Letter from CRCL to IDP, Jan. 18, 2011; email from IDP to CRCL, Jan. 31, 2011; email from CRCL to IDP, Feb. 2, 2011; email from IDP to CRCL, Feb. 2, 2011; email from CRCL to IDP, April 1, 2011]

6 Responses to “DHS designates point of contact for human rights complaints”

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    [...] Complaints have been either ignored or dealt with as “letters expressing concerns“, rather than as formal complaints. [...]

  2. Papers, Please! » Blog Archive » More US violations of citizens’ right of return Says:

    [...] DHS has designated an officer supposedly responsible for investigating and acting on complaints of violations of human [...]

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    [...] treaty violations by the State Department are responded to, responses to our our complaints to that office at the DHS, and an accounting of what has happened to other such [...]

  4. Papers, Please! » Blog Archive » Report on our work in “Human Rights Now” newsletter Says:

    [...] Order 13107). In August 2010, after months of correspondence with the DHS, we were eventually told the person designated for this purpose by the DHS is the Officer for Civil Rights and Civil [...]

  5. Papers, Please! » Blog Archive » No place at Department of “Justice” for complaints of human rights violations Says:

    [...] Only the DHS has told us they actually designated someone responsible for responding to human rights complaints. But it took the DHS almost five years to actually respond to our complaints, and when they did, they improperly suggested that US law could override international treaties. [...]

  6. Papers, Please! » Blog Archive » UN Human Rights Committee review of US implementation of the ICCPR: Day 2 Says:

    [...] Officer for Civil Rights & Civil Liberties Megan Mack, who has been officially designated as responsible for implementation of the ICCPR by the DHS, said that her office “enforces” DHS administrative standards for use of [...]

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