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Non Self-executing Treaty

United States Report on Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination,
  Initial Country Report (Sept, 2000). 

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The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination Initial Report of the United States of America to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination ( September 2000)

 

In ratifying the Convention, the United States made the following declaration:

[T]he United States declares that the provisions of the Convention are not self-executing.
This declaration has no effect on the international obligations of the United States or on its relations with States Parties. However, it does have the effect of precluding the assertion of rights by private parties based on the Convention in litigation in U.S. courts. In considering ratification of previous human rights treaties, in particular the U.N. Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1994) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1992), both the Executive Branch and the Senate have considered it prudent to declare that those treaties do not create new or independently enforceable private rights in U.S. courts. However, this declaration does not affect the authority of the Federal government to enforce the obligations that the United States has assumed under the Convention through administrative or judicial action.

As was the case with prior human rights treaties, existing U.S. law provides protections and remedies sufficient to satisfy the requirements of the present Convention. Moreover, federal, state and local laws already provide a comprehensive basis for challenging discriminatory statutes, regulations and other governmental actions in court, as well as certain forms of discriminatory conduct by private actors. Given the adequacy of the provisions already present in U.S. law, there was no discernible need for the establishment of additional causes of action or new avenues of litigation in order to guarantee compliance with the essential obligations assumed by the United States under the Convention.

This declaration has frequently been misconstrued and misinterpreted. Declaring the Convention to be non-self-executing in no way lessens the obligation of the United States to comply with its provisions as a matter of international law. Neither does it contravene any provision of the treaty or restrict the enjoyment of any right guaranteed by U.S. obligations under the Convention. There is, of course, no requirement in the Convention that States Parties make it "self executing" in their domestic law, or that private parties be afforded a specific cause of action in domestic courts on the basis of the Convention itself. The drafters quite properly left the question of implementation to the domestic laws of each State Party.

The United States is aware of the Committee's preference for the direct inclusion of the Convention into the domestic law of States Parties. Some non-governmental advocacy groups in the United States would also prefer that human rights treaties be made "self-executing" in order to serve as vehicles for litigation. The declaration reflects a different choice, one in favor of retaining existing remedies for private parties

 

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Same level:
Freedom of Speech ] Private Conduct ] Dispute Settlement ] Federalism ] [ Non Self-executing Treaty ]
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Parent Level:
Introduction ] General Report ] Legal Prohibition ] U.S. Reservations, Understandings and Declarations ] Compliance with Specific Articles ] Article 1 - Racial Discrimination ] Article 2 ] Art 3 Condemn Racial Segregation and Apartheid ] Article 4 Eliminate Incitements or Acts of Discrimination ] Article 5 Equality Under the Law ] Article 6 Assure Effective Protection and Remedies ] Article 7 Adopt Measures ] Conclusion ]
Units:
[Race and Racial Groups] [Citizenship Rights]  [Justice and Race] [Patterns of Basic Needs] [Intersectionality Issues] [Human Rights]
 

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Last Updated:
Friday, October 05, 2001  

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Thanks to Derrick Bell and his pioneer work: 
Race, Racism and American Law
(1993).