April 20, 2019, New York – In response to news that the Trump administration had failed to either re-appoint Center for Constitutional Rights board member Gay McDougall or appoint her successor to the United Nation Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), thereby leaving the seat vacant, the Center for Constitutional Rights issued the following statement:
There has been an uptick in hate speech; racism is running wild with the question of migrants and people moving from the global south to north; and racist groups have been emboldened under the Trump administration. At the same time, the Trump administration has shown contempt for all international bodies – from the United Nations to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to the International Criminal Court – and their efforts toward accountability and the promotion of human and civil rights.
There are few people more qualified to sit on the UN’s Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination than departing representative Gay McDougall. She was the first American on CERD and served until 2001, and she was re-appointed to a four-year term in 2015. She worked on the World Conference against Racism and was then made the United Nations Special Rapporteur on minority issues. She has spent her entire life and career on these issues, and has a deep familiarity with the comparative issues of racism and what the UN can and cannot do. Trump does not believe in the UN – nor does he trust credentials or expertise.
It is distressing that Trump has left this seat vacant and deprived the U.S. of a much needed voice at the UN on the struggle against racism. As Gay McDougall says, “The Black voice is very special. We have a deep understanding of how these issues play out. We have important input on the global institutions that work on discrimination.”
The Center for Constitutional Rights works with communities under threat to fight for justice and liberation through litigation, advocacy, and strategic communications. Since 1966, the Center for Constitutional Rights has taken on oppressive systems of power, including structural racism, gender oppression, economic inequity, and governmental overreach. Learn more at ccrjustice.org.