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International Advocacy

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Why does the SPLC engage in international advocacy?

The Southern Poverty Law Center’s mission to protect the rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution does not stop in the United States! Like the Constitution, several international human rights treaties contain important obligations to protect, respect and fulfill rights. These obligations are at the core of the SPLC's work and dedication to advocating for equality, civil rights and justice for all.

Click on each of our core areas of work to find the SPLC’s submissions to international human rights bodies.


Additional Resources

United Nations Treaties

Although the U.S. played a leading role in establishing the U.N., it has failed to adopt most of the human rights treaties the U.N. oversees. For example, the U.S. signed, but has never ratified, the International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. We work with a wide variety of U.N. mechanisms, including treaty-monitoring committees and human rights experts, to address U.S. failure to adhere to human rights law.

These are the major U.N. treaties the U.S. has ratified:

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

The SPLC is working to hold the U.S. accountable at the U.N. and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights for its failures to comply with its treaty obligations and to persuade the Biden administration to implement those obligations at all levels of government.

International Advocacy
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Decarceration and Decriminalization

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Protecting Democracy

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Protecting Voting Rights

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Eradicating Poverty

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Other Human Rights Issues

Decarcerating and Decriminalizing Black and Brown People

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Protecting Democracy

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Protecting Voting Rights

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Eradicating Poverty

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Other Human Rights Issues

Dismantling White Nationalism and Protecting Democracy

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The SPLC’s Intelligence Project is internationally known for its work to expose the activities of white supremacists and other domestic extremist groups. We are also sharing that expertise with international human rights bodies to pressure the U.S. to do more to protect our society and our democracy from their attacks.

• SPLC Report to the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination — July 15, 2022
• Response to Call for Input to the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights — March 25, 2022
• Response to Call for Input to the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism — March 10, 2022

Click on any of our other core areas of work to find the SPLC’s submissions to international human rights bodies.

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Person holds sign
Thu, 06/23/2022

Decarceration and Decriminalization

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Person by voting booth
Thu, 06/23/2022

Protecting Voting Rights

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Person holding cardboard cutout of house
Thu, 06/23/2022

Eradicating Poverty

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Person with child holds sign that reads No Hate
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Other Human Rights Issues

Protecting Voting Rights and Civic Engagement

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Free and equal participation in elections and government is the foundational principle of democracy. Democracy in the U.S. is increasingly threatened by authoritarian efforts to suppress voting rights and limit the representation of people of color in government. While legislative bodies and courts are failing in their duty to protect these rights, the SPLC is sounding the alarm to international bodies and seeking their intervention.

• SPLC Report to the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination — July 15, 2022
• Request to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights for a Public Hearing on Voting Rights — April 20, 2022
• Response Questions from the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues — Dec. 22, 2021
• Response to Call for Input to U.N. Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues — Nov. 4, 2021

Click on any of our other core areas of work to find the SPLC’s submissions to international human rights bodies.

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Person holds sign
Thu, 06/23/2022

Decarceration and Decriminalization

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Fists in air
Thu, 06/23/2022

Protecting Democracy

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Person holding cardboard cutout of house
Thu, 06/23/2022

Eradicating Poverty

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Person with child holds sign that reads No Hate
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Other Human Rights

Eradicating Poverty

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The SPLC works to ensure that people living in poverty in the Deep South – especially people of color – are not punished or exploited because of their economic status. Injustices such as predatory lending, court debt, imprisonment for fines and fees, and the staggering costs of mass incarceration make the burdens of poverty even worse. We are calling them to the attention of international human rights organizations.

• SPLC Report to the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination — July 15, 2022
• Submission to the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent — May 16, 2022

Click on any of our other core areas of work to find the SPLC’s submissions to international human rights bodies.

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Person holds sign
Thu, 06/23/2022

Decarceration and Decriminalization

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Fists in air
Thu, 06/23/2022

Protecting Democracy

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Person by voting booth
Thu, 06/23/2022

Protecting Voting Rights

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Person with child holds sign that reads No Hate
Thu, 06/23/2022

Other Human Rights Issues

Other Human Rights Issues

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As the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights has observed, all human rights are indivisible and interdependent. One set of rights can’t be fully enjoyed when other rights are denied. The SPLC is working to address violations of human rights that intersect with our core impact issues.

Other Human Rights Issues:

• SPLC Report to the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination — July 15, 2022
• Report to the Organization of American States Committee on Immigration Affairs — July 14, 2022
• Response to Call for Input to U.N. High Commissioner on Human Rights — Feb. 7, 2022
• Response to Call for Input to U.N. Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity — Feb. 7, 2022
• Response to Call for Input to U.N. Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity — Feb. 7, 2022

Click on any of our other core areas of work to find the SPLC’s submissions to international human rights bodies.

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Person holds sign
Thu, 06/23/2022

Decarceration and Decriminalization

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Fists in air
Fri, 06/24/2022

Protecting Democracy

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Person by voting booth
Fri, 06/24/2022

Protecting Voting Rights

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Person holding cardboard cutout of house
Fri, 06/24/2022

Eradicating Poverty

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