|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 25, 2004
For More Information Contact: Mahdis Keshavarz, Riptide Communications, Inc. (212) 260-5000
Samantha Heller, Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign, (407) 497-4318
Jen Nessel, Center for Constitutional Rights, (212) 614-6449
For Legal Analysis Contact: Jennifer Green, CCR, 917.697.8233
Thursday, August 26, 2004 11:00 AM
Center for Constitutional Rights 666 Broadway, 6TH Floor, New York, NY
THE POOR PEOPLE’S ECONOMIC HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN ACCUSES THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT OF HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS AND DEMANDS AN INVESTIGATION
New York, NY On Thursday, August 26th 2004 the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign (PPEHRC) will file a formal request for a hearing, before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States. Joining PPEHRC and providing legal expertise, are the Center for Constitutional Rights, the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative and the International Women's Law Clinic at the City University of New York.
They are asking this international body to conduct a hearing and investigation on the failures of the United States government, to fulfill its obligations under international treaties and conventions to ensure the fundamental rights to social security (welfare), health care and housing for residents of the United States. According to Peter Weiss, Vice President of the Center for Constitutional Rights, “Not only is the US retrogressing on economic and social rights, but it is doing so at a time when much of the rest of the world is finally getting around to taking economic and social rights seriously.”
The American Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man requires the United States to progressively realize economic and social rights. Recent policy decisions in the United States undermine these rights and are causing regression, with regards to the right to social security, health and housing for the low-income families in the United States. “Our government’s policies on welfare, health care and housing are worsening the situation for the poor every year. The result is more poor people are dying every year, in the richest country in the world,” said Cheri Honkala who is National Coordinator of the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign.
This formal request asks that the Commission investigate the policy choices made by the United States that are incompatible with human rights standards. These policy changes have not been dictated by resource constraints, making them particularly objectionable. The US Congress eliminated the entitlement to cash benefits for the poorest families and placed a series of limitations on eligibility for benefits during a period of great economic prosperity. If the United States used a different system of health care financing, the 44 million uninsured people would have access to health care insurance. One of the gravest threats to public housing is not only the failure to allocate resources to maintain and build public housing, but the demolition of public housing projects by the government without any real guarantee of replacement housing.
The PPEHRC is asking that the Commission give them a forum to present testimony from both the victims of welfare, health and housing policy in the United States and from national experts in welfare, health and housing policy.