Arizona Civil Rights Leader Testifies In Geneva Sal Reza Talks About SB 1070
Protesters from across the nation demonstrate over the illegal detention of Salvador Reza on July 30th, 2010.
Salvador Reza, representing the Arizona civil rights group Puente, will testify in Geneva Switzerland about human rights violations in Arizona, including S.B. 1070. This is the first time the U.S. has submitted to the international review in front of the United Nations Human Rights Council.
A country that prides itself on its human rights record must be willing to stand in front of the world and consider recommendations in a peer review. The Bush administration avoided the Council, fearful of criticism over his efforts in Iraq, holding prisoners in Guantanamo Bay without access to legal counsel and classifying water-boarding as an interrogation technique rather than calling it torture.
Salvador Reza in Geneva
Reza will highlight additional abuses by our country, specifically, S.B. 1070, an Arizona racial profiling law that requires police to detain all persons suspected of being in the country without documents. Since the law cannot specify what undocumented workers look like, the burden fell upon Latinos and people of color. Portions of the law were ruled unconstitutional, while other portions were enjoined from enforcement pending litigation which is in process as this piece is being written. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer insists the law should go into effect.
The question begs, how will the American people respond to peer review, especially by countries which are unfriendly to the U.S.? Are we willing to examine our own behavior in our role as a world leader?
As a member of the United Nations, the US has agreed to a peer review every four years, along with all other member countries. Some fear enemies of the US will attempt to make the country look bad. However, civil rights leaders are confident we can listen to the suggestions and work to improve our human rights record.