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UN Shines Spotlight on US Rights Record

  • VOA News

A country that considers itself a human rights champion will have its record reviewed by the United Nations Monday.

The United States will experience the Universal Periodic Review that all 193 U.N. member countries must undergo every four years.

The U.S. is likely to face tough scrutiny in Geneva, including questions about the recent string of police killings of unarmed African-American men .

Other issues likely to emerge in the meeting include the widespread incarceration of illegal immigrants, including children, as well as conditions in U.S. prisons, including long-term solitary confinement and the continued use of the death penalty.

The mass surveillance U.S. citizens have been subjected to in recent years will undoubtedly come up for discussion, too. The so-called "U.S. Patriot Act," under which many of the surveillance activities have taken place, is up for debate in Congress ahead of a June first deadline for renewal.

Washington's legacy from the "war on terror" – alleged CIA torture and the failure to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba – will also likely be examined.

"The U.S. has little progress to show for the many commitments it made during its first Universal Periodic Review," said Antonio Ginatta, the U.S. advocacy director at Human Rights Watch.

The U.S. had its first UPR in 2010, but activists say it has done little to implement many of the 171 recommendations it accepted out of the 240 recommendations made.

"The world will be asking hard questions of a country that considers itself a human rights champion," said Jamil Dakwar, director of the American Civil Liberties Union Human Rights Program. "It will be expecting meaningful answers and a concrete plan of action."

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