With a commitment to international cooperation and to the development of effective institutions and mechanisms to protect and promote human rights, and motivated by a belief in the important role that the United States will play in building a just and prosperous world, the U.S. Baha’i Office of Public Affairs (OPA) has consistently supported U.S. ratification of a number of international human rights treaties.
OPA representatives have worked closely with a number of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to advocate for ratification of several treaties, all of which were ultimately ratified by the United States, including:
- Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Genocide Convention)
- International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)
- International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD)
- Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
(Convention Against Torture)
OPA representatives have also been involved in the effort to ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child, a treaty that enumerates the rights of persons under the age of 18 and sets standards for the protection of children. The Convention has been ratified by all the countries of the world, with the exception of the United States, Somalia, and South Sudan. The Office has worked with several NGOs to urge U.S. ratification of the treaty, including through participation in the Campaign for US Ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child; OPA’s Human Rights Officer currently serves on the Steering Committee of the Campaign. More broadly, the Office has sought to educate communities about the Convention and has helped to organize public events to commemorate Universal Children’s Day.
OPA has supported ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, a treaty that sets standards for equal rights and nondiscrimination for adults and children with disabilities. The Convention has been ratified by over 130 countries, and OPA has recently joined NGO efforts in support of U.S. ratification. As part of an effort led by the Interfaith Initiative of the American Association of Persons with Disabilities, OPA signed on to a faith-based letter to U.S. Senators urging ratification of the Convention.
OPA also participates in the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, a Washington-based NGO with over 300 member organizations representing diverse faith groups. In this capacity, it supports U.S. ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT), which establishes an international monitoring system for detention facilities.
OPA has long supported the establishment and evolution of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The ICC is an international institution that was created by the Rome Statute in 1998, and entered into force in 2002. It now has 122 state parties, and is charged with trying the worst offenders of the worst international crimes: genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Its aim is to end impunity and promote accountability, encourage deterrence and the prevention of atrocities, and generally further the cause of international justice. While the United States is not a party to the Court, its current relationship with the Court is ad hoc, yet cooperative.
OPA is a member of the American Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) Coalition for the ICC (AMICC), the national affiliate of the Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC). In addition, OPA representatives have long been actively involved with the Washington Working Group on the ICC (WICC), an informal, nonpartisan, and diverse coalition of NGOs in Washington, D.C. that works to strengthen the U.S. relationship with the ICC. OPA’s Human Rights Officer currently serves as the co-chair of WICC. Through its involvement with these groups, OPA engages in outreach to the U.S. government and public education efforts regarding the ICC.
For more information regarding Human Rights Treaties, view the Related Documents and Resources page of our website.