Dear Members and Advocates,
In September 2022, our Florida Action Committee president, Gail Colletta, filed a Complaint with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva Switzerland, entitled “PETITION TO THE UNITED NATIONS TO INVESTIGATE THE UNITED STATES’ SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY AS A VIOLATION OF THE UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS.“.
That office is the leading United Nations entity in the field of human rights, with a unique mandate to promote and protect all human rights for all people. Every year on December 10th, the world celebrates Human Rights Day, the very day when, in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
When a country ratifies (i.e., formally accepts) a U.N. human rights treaty, it becomes obligated to submit regular, periodic reports on its compliance with the treaty’s obligations. These reports are submitted to the treaty monitoring body – or committee – that has been established for each treaty to monitor the compliance of state parties.
The United States government has ratified three of the treaties: the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (or ICCPR) in 1992; the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (or CAT) in 1994; and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) also in 1994.
Therefore, the United States is obligated to file periodic compliance reports with the Human Rights Committee under the ICCPR, the Committee Against Torture under the CAT, and the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination under the ICERD. The ICCPR report that the US Government submitted 2021 can be read here.
In addition to the report submitted by the U.S. Government, the U.N. Committees encourage active and effective participation of domestic civil society groups in the treaty reporting process, which is essential to a full and accurate review of the U.S.’s human rights record. Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) such as Florida Action Committee (FAC), the Miami Coalition to Advance Racial Equality (MCARE), and other non-profit advocacy groups, can submit reports that highlight issues not raised by their governments or that point out where the government may be misleading the UN committee from the real situation.
In U.N. terminology, this is a called a “shadow report” that is submitted by an NGO to the treaty monitoring bodies that addresses omissions, deficiencies, or inaccuracies in the official government reports. Such information is often vital to assisting U.N. experts in their assessment of a government’s compliance with international human rights treaties. In fact, the official U.N. guidelines for the reporting process anticipate the involvement and consultation of civil society groups during the drafting of the government’s report, but the U.S. government generally has refrained from this type of consultation, which makes the NGO shadow reporting process even more important.
MCARE has been addressing the homeless crisis in Miami Dade, and they recognize that the 2500′ Residency Restrictions placed on registered citizens in that county is one of the contributing factors to the increased homelessness in Miami Dade county. Both MCARE and FAC have been given the opportunity to join a team from the Miami University School of Law to present, in person, our concerns (from our shadow reports) to the U.N. Human Rights committee in Geneva Switzerland next month. While the focus is on the homeless crisis in Miami, the global spotlight will be placed on Florida’s deficiencies and inhumane treatment of our citizens. The visit will also include in-person meetings with U.S. government officials and agencies (such as HUD), and networking with other human rights NGOs with shared issues. The process forges relationships between domestic and international NGOs and U.N. human rights experts, which strengthens the human rights movement both at home and around the world.
Specifically, for FAC, Gail Colletta will be addressing 1) the need to remove residency restrictions, 2) the UN Complaint filed last year, and 3) an update on the change.org petition that continues to gain signatures. FAC, MCARE and the other participants from the team will ask that the U.N. Committee include a stop in Miami on their scheduled US Tour in 2024. That will certainly provide the opportunity for FAC and MCARE to host a public event in Miami that will further raise awareness of the homeless crisis and need to remove ineffective, counterproductive residency restrictions in the state of Florida,
During the month of September 2023, donations made to the FAC General Fund will be applied to the travel expenses for the Geneva Switzerland trip. Donations to FAC can be made online at https://floridaactioncommittee.org/donations/.
If you want to contribute to the matching fund challenge or prefer to make a tax deductible donation to help with the expenses, you can send a check to Justice Transitions/FAC, PO Box 470932, Lake Monroe FL 32747. Please indicate on the memo line how you want your donation to be used.
In the 2024 legislative session, FAC will be certain to let our legislators know that we are placing the spotlight on Florida…statewide, nationwide and globally… to address Florida’s Sex Offender Registry as a violation of human rights and must be abolished.
The Florida Action Committee (FAC)
833-273-7325 Option 1
Monday Night Support Group – Open to registered citizens and family members, every Monday at 8pmET. Call 760-548-9898 to participate in a group support call facilitated by FAC Regional Coordinators. Find comfort, motivation and encouragement with other members in this no-judgement zone as they share common concerns and interests.
New Member Orientation Call – Thu Sep 14 at 8pm ET. 319-527-3487. NO Agenda. Call in to learn more about the organization, volunteer opportunities, where to find support, get resources and referrals, or just share information. If you have any problem connecting for free, you can text CALL ME to 319-527-3487 for a call back from Free Conference Call and you will be connected to the meeting at no charge.
Family Support Group – Sat Sep 9 from 11am-1pm. By Invitation only for non-registered family members with loved ones on the Registry. Must be an FAC member. To participate, contact [email protected] or call 833-273-7325, Option 1.
Legislative Delegation Meetings – Check schedule for meeting near you. This is your opportunity to speak publicly on issues that concern your family and our community. For help in preparing a 3-minute speech, or to learn more about the meetings, join the legislative team by contacting [email protected] or leave message at call 822-273-7325.
MEET and GREETS
Sat Sep 9- Sarasota/Manatee County- 1pm-4pm RSVP to [email protected] or call 941-500-4706
Sat Sep 23- Lee County -Noon – 3pm RSVP to [email protected] or text/call 941-677-3951
Sat Sep 30- Pasco County -2pm-5pm RSVP to [email protected] or call or text 727-999-4716.
Support Staff Needed- If you have some time and want to be more involved, email [email protected] or call 833-273-7325,Option 1.
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PenPal Communications – Respond to letters from inmates seeking information and support. Training provided.
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Florida Action Committee