Press Release

December 16, 2009

U.S. Senator
Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission) and a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, released the following statement today after the Judiciary Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law hearing entitled “The Law of the Land: U.S. Implementation of Human Rights Treaties.” 

“I welcome the subcommittee's first hearing to focus attention on U.S. implementation of international human rights treaty obligations. The harder we work as a nation to uphold our legal promises to protect basic rights and freedoms, the stronger these treaties become. I welcome the Obama Administration’s efforts to increase scrutiny of our own record on these issues, including the recommendations by the
Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination to help victims of Hurricane Katrina, combat racial profiling, and address other inequities in our criminal justice system. I encourage the Administration to revitalize the interagency process to review human rights treaties from a foreign policy and domestic policy perspective.

“Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy Human Rights and Labor Michael Posner plans to meet with groups around the United States on matters of basic rights, starting with a visit to New Orleans next month. This outreach is critical to reassuring people at home and abroad about the seriousness of our commitment to safeguarding fundamental values. I also look forward to following up with Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez on whether the 1994 law adopted to implement U.S. obligations under the Convention Against Torture is sufficient or needs to be revisited.”