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Thursday, May 17, 2012

University of Minnesota Students Take an Active Role in United Nations Treaty Body

studentsUN.jpgThe Human Rights Program and Professor Jennifer Green's Human Rights Litigation and International Legal Advocacy Clinic collaborated in March 2012 to provide the United Nations Human Rights Committee with up-to-date information about the effects of small arms and light weapons in the world today.












The Human Rights Program and Professor Jennifer Green's Human Rights Litigation and International Legal Advocacy Clinic collaborated in March 2012 to provide the United Nations Human Rights Committee with up-to-date information about the effects of small arms and light weapons in the world today.
Students in the law clinic prepared shadow reports on Yemen, the Dominican Republic, and the Philippines, three of the countries being reviewed as part of the Committee's periodic reporting process.
The Human Rights Committee monitors the performance of 167 States that have ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Each state party is required to report periodically its human rights record and non-governmental organizations may submit shadow reports that provide additional information to the
committee's members.
A team of University of Minnesota students carried out in-depth research on violations committed by state agents and private actors made possible by easy access to lethal firearms. In the Yemen report, the students noted the indiscriminate killings of more than 2,000 individuals in 2011 when security forces used powerful weapons including AK-47s, sniper rifles, and 22.7 mm machine guns on largely peaceful protestors. The shadow report on the Dominican Republic highlighted the high number of extrajudicial killings by law enforcement officials.
In response to the U of M's work, the committee called on Yemen to implement a program involving "the collection, control, storage, and destruction of unnecessary weapons." The committee also called on the Dominican Republic to eliminate excessive use of force by law enforcement and to ensure that its laws, policies, and practices comply with international norms on firearm use.