As part of a delegation from the U.S. Human Rights Network, we spent this past week in Geneva meeting with members of the U.N. Human Rights Committee in preparation for the Committee’s review of U.S. implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
The U.S. ratified the ICCPR in 1992. In accordance with the terms of the ICCPR, the Human Rights Committee reviews each party to the treaty every five years. At its current session, the Human Rights Committee is adopting a short list of issues to be addressed in its review of the U.S.
The Human Rights Committee received dozens of submissions from nongovernmental human rights organizations, including several five from the Identity Project, recommending issues for inclusion in the Committee’s review of the U.S.
The list of issues and questions for the U.S. adopted this by the Human Rights Committee in closed session, will be made public sometime in April after it is translated into the six official working languages of the U.N.
Far more issues were put before the Committee than it will be able to include on its short list. But from the private meetings we had this week with members of the Committee, we strongly suspect that list of issues about which the U.S. will be questioned when it appears before the Human Rights Committee for public questioning this October will include issues related to freedom of movement and travel.
Despite U.S. law that explicitly requires the TSA to respect “the pubic right of freedom of transit” by air, and Constitutional principles of freedom of movement, the DHS and other U.S. government agencies have been unwilling to include the right to travel in the terms of reference according to which travel “security” measures are evaluated. We look forward to seeing how official representatives of the U.S. government will respond to the questions about this issue that we expect will be asked by the Human Rights Committee.