Date: Feb 3, 1998 [ 10: 42: 7]

Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 1 Feb 1998 to 2 Feb 1998

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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 1 Feb 1998 to 2 Feb 1998
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There is one message totalling 110 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. Groups Call for Annual Report on U.S. HR Practices

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Date: Mon, 2 Feb 1998 16:03:18 -0500
From: hickse@HRW.ORG
Subject: Groups Call for Annual Report on U.S. HR Practices

January 29, 1998

TO: Interested Press
FR: Allyson Collins, Human Rights Watch
(202)371-6599 x 133
RE: Human Rights Report

As the U.S. State Department prepares to release its annual
report on human rights practices in other countries, a
coalition of thirteen U.S.-based international human rights
and domestic civil rights groups are calling upon the
Clinton administration to compile and publish an annual
report on the state of human rights in the United States.
According to the coalition, "such a report would assist
policymakers in identifying trends in violations, provide
the public with information about efforts to hold abusers
accountable, and submit our government to the same scrutiny
that the U.S. applies to other governments in its annual
country reports."



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January 29, 1998


President William J. Clinton
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear President Clinton:

As the international community observes the 50th
anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and
we recall the leading role of the United States in helping
to draft this important document, we note that the United
States remains disappointingly reluctant to assess its own
conduct under international human rights standards. As a
coalition of U.S.-based international human rights and
domestic civil rights groups, we are writing to request that
your administration compile and publish an annual report on
the state of human rights in the United States to
demonstrate the government's commitment in practice to
international human rights norms. Such a report would
enable the American public to gauge compliance with
international human rights treaties ratified by the United
States. To date, no such report exists.

As you know, the State Department's Bureau on
Democracy, Human Rights and Labor will issue its annual
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices this week. Those
reports have improved over the past several years, and their
high quality points up the absence of a similar report
dedicated to human rights practices in the United States.

In making this request, we do not seek a report that
merely cites legal protections in these areas, as was
provided in the July 1994 report on compliance with the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Instead, like the State Department's country reports on
human rights, we seek an honest appraisal of how, in
practice, rights are protected.

We believe that such a report would assist
policymakers in identifying trends in violations, provide
the public with information about efforts to hold abusers
accountable, and submit our government to the same scrutiny
that the U.S. applies to other governments in its annual
country reports on human rights. We urge you to instruct
the relevant departments to compile and publish this report
annually, beginning next year.

We look forward to a chance to discuss this proposal
in more detail, at your convenience.

Sincerely,

American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
American Civil Liberties Union
Amnesty International USA
Human Rights Watch
International Human Rights Law Group
Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund
National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty
National Organization for Women
Physicians for Human Rights
RFK Memorial Center for Human Rights
Southern Center for Human Rights
Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children


cc: Secretary of State Madeleine Albright
Attorney General Janet Reno
Assistant Secretary of State John Shattuck
Acting Assistant Attorney General Bill Lann Lee

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End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 1 Feb 1998 to 2 Feb 1998
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