Professor Cynthia Soohoo, Nell Hirschmann-Levy (’14), and Meghan McLoughlin (’14) recently traveled to Geneva to meet with U.S. government officials and to urge the U.N. Human Rights Committee to address the issues of incarceration of youth in adult jails and prisons in the United States and policing practices that result in criminalization of trafficking victims.
The trip was prompted by the Committee’s two-day review of the U.S.’s compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights on March 13-14. Prior to the review, Soohoo, Hirschmann-Levy, and McLoughlin participated in formal and informal NGO briefings and a consultation with U.S. government representatives.
During the review, the Human Rights Committee vigorously questioned the United States about laws and practices that allow youth under 18 to be criminally tried as adults. It also expressed concern that U.S. anti-trafficking and policing policies result in arrest and criminalization of trafficking victims. The Committee’s Concluding Observations should be issued later this month.
The advocacy in Geneva built on the International Women’s Human Rights Clinic’s work on these two issues over the last few years, including multiple submissions to the U.N. Human Rights Committee and the IWHR’s recent report on the criminalization of trafficking victims.