81st Annual Meeting: June 21-24, 2013 in Las Vegas

PROMOTING & ENCOURAGING INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS

     WHEREAS, the United States has played a prominent role in promoting international human rights since the founding of the United Nations in 1945; and

     WHEREAS, international human rights are articulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and a broad range of laws, norms and values that recognize and promote the fundamental humanity and dignity of every person, as well as the necessity of fairness and opportunity for all people, and that enable people to meet their basic needs and to enjoy basic civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights; and 

     WHEREAS, there is an international human rights system, of which the United States is a part, which includes a framework of charters, treaties, court cases and laws, and international monitoring bodies, all of which are recognized and accepted by the vast majority of the global community of nations and individuals; and

     WHEREAS, the United States, has ratified three of the nine core international human rights treaties: the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Convention Against Torture (CAT); and moreover, the United States has signed but not yet ratified a number of additional core human rights treaties, committing to not take action that will defeat the object and purpose of these treaties; and

     WHEREAS, the United States has emphasized its commitment to human rights at home and abroad, which requires it to assess domestic conditions in light of universally accepted standards, take steps to promote and protect the full range of human rights, and engage constructively with international human rights institutions; and

     WHEREAS, a basic tenet of the human rights framework is that human rights must start at home, and must involve and reflect the needs and expertise of local communities, and that governments have an affirmative obligation to respect, protect and fulfill these rights; and 

     WHEREAS, mayors are on the front lines of ensuring equality, combating discrimination and enabling access to affordable housing, healthcare and education, among other human rights issues; and

     WHEREAS, The United States Conference of Mayors has endorsed international agreements, including the Vienna Declaration in Support of Cost Effective and Evidence-Based Drug Policy and supported United Nations Conferences, such as Rio +20; and led cities in a global effort to comply with the Kyoto Protocol through its Climate Protection Agreement; and

     WHEREAS, The United States Conference of Mayors is committed to ensuring that cities around the world initiate and share innovative ideas and programs; and has encouraged international exchanges; and

     WHEREAS, in a series of resolutions in June of 2012, The United States Conference of Mayors urged “Congress and the states to pursue a positive agenda that reaffirms fundamental rights;” reiterated that “cities and metro regions are the global hubs of innovation;” and

     WHEREAS, a majority of people in the United States believe that human rights include equal opportunities regardless of gender and race, being treated fairly in the criminal justice system, freedom from discrimination, freedom from torture or abuse by law enforcement, equal access to quality public education, access to health care, living in a clean environment; fair pay for workers to meet the basic needs for food and housing; and keeping personal behavior and choices private; and

     WHEREAS, The United States Conference of Mayors has promoted policies to address fundamental human rights and needs, including health, poverty reduction, homelessness, equality for LGBT persons, non-citizens and disparities in incarceration rates; and

     WHEREAS, as has been demonstrated in numerous cities, including Seattle, Washington, Salt Lake City, Utah, Los Angeles, California, Eugene, Oregon and El Paso, Texas, international human rights can provide a powerful framework for, and play an instrumental role in, efforts by cities to ensure opportunity and equality for their communities,

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, The United States Conference of Mayors recognizes and affirms the importance of the international human rights principles of dignity, equality and opportunity; and

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED members of The United States Conference of Mayors commit to uphold and promote international human rights, in collaboration with state and local government agencies and officials, as well as local communities;  and

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED members of The United States Conference of Mayors commit to explore opportunities to incorporate international human rights into local policy, and practice and to support broader efforts to advance human rights principles locally.

     Projected Cost:  Unknown


RESOLUTION ADOPTED JUNE 2013