Report Calls United States to Account for Failing to Meet Basic Human Needs

In a report published in advance of the United Nations hearing on the U.S. human rights record, advocacy groups called the U.S. government to account for regularly washing its hands of any responsibility for making sure that its people are not ill-fed, ill-housed, and of ill health. Together with seven collaborators and over forty endorsing groups, the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative (NESRI) submitted a report to the UN on the persistent denial of economic and social human rights in the United States. The report, “Toward Economic and Social Rights in the United States: From Market Competition to Public Goods,” is released today in a new version that includes case studies of groups fighting for
human rights in their local communities.

Read the report here.

Download NESRI’s press release here.

The evidence presented in the report shows that the United States has failed for decades to fully respect, protect, and fulfill the human rights to education, health care, housing, work, and social security, partly because it consistently privileges private, profit-making interests over meeting people’s fundamental needs. The critique comes on the eve of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), a United Nations human rights monitoring mechanism, which will hold its first official examination of the U.S. human rights record on November 5 in Geneva, Switzerland.

Representatives of two organizations that collaborated in submitting the report will travel as part of a national delegation to the United Nations in Geneva next week. The human rights activists, Deborah Burton of the Los Angeles Community Action Network and Mary Gerisch of the Vermont Workers’ Center and its Healthcare Is a Human Right Campaign, will offer testimony on the struggle for economic and social human rights in the United States. Two videos produced and submitted by NESRI and its allies will also be screened before UN representatives next week. In the first, Romeo Ramirez of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, a co-submitter of the report, documents
farmworkers’ human rights struggle in Florida. In the second, Elizabeth Rosenthal, from Physicians for a National Health Program NY Metro, speaks on the human right to health care (see below).


  1. Mario Accaoui on November 4, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    Dear Sir:
    Looking at the massive defeat of the Democratic Party and the election of some conservative Republicans, it looks like the US wants the people to become more poor, uneducated, no healthcare, and loss of homes they can’t afford.
    America’s poverty rate has went up to 14% from 13% in two years and we are now experiencing poverty (especially here in Florida)that harks back to the beginning of The War On Poverty in 1966. Mobility is down, unemployment is almost 10%, basic food prices continue to increase, and social protection is being cut or given only if you are homeless but not if your middle class and officially poor.
    Those without basic health insurance amount to 48 million and climbing. While in Florida it is pretty high – 23%. The haelthcare system is too expensive and does not cover at least 90% of the people.
    Basically, the AMA, HMO’s, the pharmaceutical industry, and healthcare companies are in the hip pockets of most politicians. They run the show in Washington, D.C. in both parties.
    According to Newsweek (August 2010) an international study was scientifically conducted comparing most industrialized countries in the world to the US as best places to live with the US 11th and Finland, Switzerland, Candada, Australia, New Zealand in the top 10. Germany has the best quality of life with lower unemployment, good healthcare, plenty of future jobs, etc. Japan has the #1 healthcare system which covers everyone at a low cost $3200/person vs $7300 in the US using mainly highly regulated private health insurance companies.
    Finally, the US spends over $7500/student in education but the #1 education system is Finland, South Korea, Japan and Canada. Finland focuses more on teaching the basics and 1/3 of students have immediate tutoring. Unlike Florida, which only graduates 40% of White students while graduating 36% of African Anerican Students almost all Finnish students graduate K-12 and highly competitive in science, math, foeriegn language (English) and reading.

    Mario Accaoui

  2. Harry Strunc on February 29, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    FOR PROFIT health insurance companies must go the way of the steam locomotive. They are obsolete in 2012.

    We don’t need health insurance companies.

    We need Medicare for ALL AMERICANS.

    The time has come for real health care reform. Medicare for all.