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Rights Related to the Treatment of Non-Citizens

March 20, 2006 - Speaking on behalf of a coalition of U.S. non-governmental organizations, The Advocates urged the U.N. Human Rights Committee to hold the U.S. government accountable for violations of the rights of asylum seekers and other non-citizens under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). 

“Ten years of legislative and regulatory changes, combined with removal proceedings that often lack fundamental due process guarantees and the low quality of adjudications by immigration judges, have eroded meaningful access to the due process protections guaranteed under Art. 13 of the ICCPR,” stated Deputy Director Jennifer Prestholdt.   “Indigent asylum applicants and other non-citizens in removal proceedings do not have a right to free legal counsel and many do not have access to legal services provided by charitable organizations.  The US completely fails in its obligation under Article 13 to provide representation in any immigration proceedings.” 

The Human Rights Committee, the treaty-monitoring body charged with reviewing the 154 members states’ compliance with the treaty, is composed of 18 independent experts with recognized competence in the field of human rights.  The U.S. ratified the ICCPR in 1992 and submitted its initial report, but was more than seven years overdue with its second and third periodic reports before submitting them in October of 2005.  The Advocates is part of a coalition of non-governmental organizations that provided information to the Committee members as part of the review process. The Committee conducted the full review of the U.S. report in Geneva in July, 2006.

The full text of The Advocates' statement is available by clicking here. To read the U.S. report to the ICCPR, click here.