Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Slams SB1070

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The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights(IACHR) is an organ of the Organization of American States(OAS), given the task of monitoring Human Rights violations in the Americas. This is the same commission that has sharply criticized the severe suppression of Human Rights in places like Cuba and Venezuela. They have issued an announcement regarding Arizona’s new anti-immigrant law, SB1070, and it’s not praise. Here it is:

Washington, DC, April 28, 2010 – The Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (IACHR) expresses deep concern over the new immigration law approved in the State of Arizona in the United States.

The law, which was signed on April 23, 2010 and would enter into force in three months, requires all police officers in Arizona to question any individual regarding his or her immigration status if the officer has a “reasonable suspicion” that the individual is unlawfully in the United States. Likewise, the law establishes that the presence of an undocumented immigrant in Arizona is a criminal offense and that person will be guilty of the crime of “trespassing,” which carries a prison sentence of up to six months, a monetary fine, as well as paying all prison costs.

First, the Inter-American Commission expresses its deep concern with the high risk of racial discrimination in the implementation of the law. Second, the Commission is concerned with the criminalization of the presence of undocumented persons. In this regard, the IACHR wishes to recall that international norms establish that detention should be applied only under exceptional circumstances and only after it has been determined, in each individual case, to be necessary and proportional. As the IACHR indicated in July 2008 in its resolution regarding the “Return Directive” adopted by the European Parliament on June 18th of that year, States should avoid prolonged detention in every case and should ensure that detention be for the shortest period possible. In addition, the detention must be ordered by a competent authority, which by general rule must be a judge.

International law recognizes that countries may establish mechanisms to control the entry and departure of foreigners to their territory. Likewise, international law establishes that a State’s actions in this context must be applied with strict regard for the rights of the people affected and with observation of fundamental principles such as non-discrimination and the rights to liberty and personal integrity, which cannot be subordinated to the implementation of public policy objectives.

The Inter-American Commission exhorts U.S. authorities to find adequate measures to modify the recently approved law in the State of Arizona in order to bring it into accordance with international human rights standards for the protection of migrants.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who act in a personal capacity, without representing a particular country, and who are elected by the OAS General Assembly.

If the law is not struck down by the Courts, expect a firestorm on the international stage. The U.S. will likely lose a whole lot of credibility when trying to criticize repressive regimes such as Iran, North Korea, and China.

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11 Responses to “Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Slams SB1070”

  1. Liquid Reigns Says:

    If the law is not struck down by the Courts, expect a firestorm on the international stage.

    That’s not exactly what the IACHR or the OAS is saying. Your reading way to much into what they are stating. The key words of the article are: expresses its deep concern with the high risk of racial discrimination. concerned with the criminalization of the presence of undocumented persons. In addition, the detention must be ordered by a competent authority, which by general rule must be a judge. The Inter-American Commission exhorts U.S. authorities to find adequate measures to modify the recently approved law in the State of Arizona

    • bjohns15 Says:

      I disagree. I’ve read IACHR reports before, on Venezuela and Cuba, for example. They are generally cautious in how they phrase their reports. The mere fact that this caught IACHR’s attention is a big deal; they don’t just flippantly issue statements like, say, amnesty international.

      • Liquid Reigns Says:

        They are only issuing a statement due to the impact it is having on their citizenry here in violation of immigration law, otherwise they wouldn’t be saying anything at all.

      • bjohns15 Says:

        You mean, the individual members’ own country’s citizens? International Human Rights law applies to all people, so I think you are wrong. For example, why would there are no members on the commission from Cuba, yet they write about the violations of human rights there.

      • Liquid Reigns Says:

        International Human Rights law applies to all people, so I think you are wrong.

        The pre-amble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is specific to the individual countries themselves and how persons within their jurisdictions (boundaries) are to be given their basic liberties (unalienable rights). Nothing in SB 1070 is in violation of their basic liberties, and the IACHR is concerned with the jailing of their citizenry in AZ for being found guilty for “trespassing” and subsequently jailed prior to being deported, which they have no problem with the deportation part.

        There is nothing in their letter that warrants your claims of …a firestorm on the international stage. The U.S. will likely lose a whole lot of credibility when trying to criticize repressive regimes such as Iran, North Korea, and China.

      • bjohns15 Says:

        So you would say that the punishment before deportation is wrong?

        Why not just deport those, instead of criminalizing them, if they have not committed serious crimes?

      • Liquid Reigns Says:

        International Human Rights law applies to all people,

        Don’t forget the UDHR is a NON-BINDING resolution and is left up to each Nation State to institute. So to refer to the UDHR doesn’t help the premise of the argument. The IHRL does absolutely nothing but help guide the conscience of those in charge.

      • bjohns15 Says:

        It’s not UDHR; it’s the Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man(created by OAS).

        It is non-binding, but we are a member of OAS. It’s still significant, not on the immediate concrete level.

        The IACHR has claimed it has jurisdiction on over the U.S., but as it’s just a commission, it lacks some teeth.

      • Liquid Reigns Says:

        So you would say that the punishment before deportation is wrong?

        No, I wouldn’t. I also think they should be penalized by way of restitution (they should be responsible for the costs for the court hearing).

        Why not just deport those, instead of criminalizing them, if they have not committed serious crimes?

        It is entirely up to the state or the court to determine if the immigration violator should be penalized prior to going to ICE for removal. Don’t forget the Federal deportation system already criminalizes them with a bar of legal re-entry, which doesn’t stop them from coming back in many instances. The AZ law is an attempt to stop the return, if they know they will be jailed, they may choose to instead stay in their home country.

      • bjohns15 Says:

        “It is entirely up to the state or the court to determine if the immigration violator should be penalized prior to going to ICE for removal.”

        That’s not settled yet.

        “Don’t forget the Federal deportation system already criminalizes them with a bar of legal re-entry”

        That does not apply to all unauthorized immigrants; those that came here on a valid visa, and who stayed over their time limit, are not in general faced with a bar to re-entry

      • Liquid Reigns Says:

        It’s not UDHR; it’s the Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man(created by OAS).

        I used your statement of International Human Rights law, which came up with the UDHR. As for the OAS, you are correct.

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