Periodic report of the united states of america to the united nations committee on the elimination of racial discrimination



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Article 7

210. The United States engages broadly and at all levels in measures to combat prejudice and promote understanding and tolerance.

211. Education and teaching. Development of educational curricula in the United States is decentralized, with primary responsibility for education at the state and local levels. Many schools feature human rights education, and some colleges, universities and law schools have special centers devoted to the study of human rights. Educational programs are often developed in partnership with NGOs, such as Amnesty International USA and the Education Caucus, a branch of the U.S. Human Rights Network. Although the federal government does not have authority to direct or control curricula or programs of instruction in schools, ED engages in initiatives to further the principles of human rights, civil responsibility, and character development, including knowledge about diverse cultures and religious traditions, tolerance, civility, and mutual respect. Recently ED began a civic learning and engagement initiative to encourage and strengthen high-quality civic education, including civic principles and civic, global, and intercultural literacy, http://www.ed.gov/civic-learning. ED’s 2012 report on enhancing civic learning explains that, “[d]one well, civic education teaches students to communicate effectively, to work collaboratively, to ask tough questions, and to appreciate diversity.”

212. Culture. Activities to promote cultural understanding, tolerance and friendship among groups are discussed throughout this Report, including in the responses to Committee Observations 29 and 38 concerning indigenous peoples, above.

213. Information. Although the United States does not have “State media,” the federal agencies that address discrimination actively develop and disseminate publications and fact sheets designed to ensure that the issue of racial and ethnic equality is kept in the consciousness of the American public. Publications are available in multiple languages, including Chinese, Arabic, Haitian Creole, Korean, Russian, Spanish, Vietnamese, Farsi, Hindi, Laotian, Urdu, Tagalog, Hmong and Punjabi. For example, all USCIS material available in foreign languages can be found at the USCIS Multilingual Resource Center, www.uscis.gov/multilingual.

214. Racial and ethnic prejudice is also the focus of attention by both print media and other forms of public communication. Newspapers throughout the United States routinely publish articles on issues related to race and ethnicity, and the non-print media increasingly addresses these difficult issues as well. Training and continuing education is available for journalists through a number of organizations and associations.


215. With regard to paragraph 36 of the Committee’s Concluding Observations, in recent years, the U.S. government has increased its outreach to state, tribal, and local human rights organizations concerning the roles they play in implementing U.S. human rights treaty obligations. For example, in 2009, DOS Legal Adviser Koh sent a memorandum to state governors providing information on our human rights treaty obligations and asking that they share the information with their Attorneys General and other relevant officials. Legal Adviser Koh also sent letters requesting input for U.S. human rights reports to state governors in 2010 and to tribal officials in 2011. We also have sought to improve coordination at all levels, working with the International Association of Official Human Rights Agencies. The DOS website, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/reports/treaties/index.htm, contains considerable information relating to U.S. human rights treaty obligations, including the U.S. reports and the conclusions and observations adopted by the human rights treaty bodies.


216. Other outreach. Other U.S. agencies are also actively engaged in outreach to the public concerning the domestic protections that relate to, and in many cases implement, our CERD and other human rights treaty obligations and related commitments, including the following:

  • DOJ – DOJ/CRS trains community leaders and law enforcement officers, and conducts community dialogues and mediations to prevent discrimination and to promote peace. CRS has also reached out to identify ways the NGO and law enforcement communities can work together to facilitate reporting, investigation, and prevention of hate crimes.

  • HHS – HHS/OCR provides training and technical assistance to ensure that the more than 500,000 health care and human service programs that receive HHS funds comply with civil rights laws. In FY 2011 OCR provided training and technical assistance to more than 100,000 individuals, partnering with health agencies and professional associations.

  • DHS – In addition to the many training programs it offers for law enforcement and other officials at all levels of government, DHS/CRCL conducts regular roundtables and meetings to bring together federal, state, and local government officials with community leaders to raise awareness of issues related to racial profiling and discrimination. In 2011, CRCL expanded engagement with new communities and in new geographic areas, increased engagement with youth, raised CRCL’s online profile through social networking, continued to work with ethnic media outlets, and broadened DHS participation in major ethnic and religious community conventions and conferences.

  • ED – ED/OCR conducts hundreds of technical assistance and outreach activities each year with institutions and individuals. Extensive materials are posted on ED’s website in English and 19 other languages.

  • EEOC – In addition to technical assistance programs provided to educate employers on anti-discrimination laws, the EEOC conducts extensive public outreach and awareness programs, including special efforts to reach historically underserved populations. In FY 2012, the EEOC conducted 3,992 no-cost events for the public, and nearly 1,000 other educational events for employers.


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