Posted on May 12, 2010

U.N. Human Rights Experts Criticize Arizona Law

Elaine Engeler, Cybercast News Service (CNS), May 11, 2010

Arizona’s new law on illegal immigration could violate international standards that are binding in the United States, six U.N. human rights experts said Tuesday.

The basic human rights regulations, signed by the U.S. and many other nations, regard issues such as discrimination and the terms under which a person can be detained, the experts said.

“A disturbing pattern of legislative activity hostile to ethnic minorities and immigrants has been established with the adoption of an immigration law that may allow for police action targeting individuals on the basis of their perceived ethnic origin,” the experts said.


In their statement, the six U.N. experts said: {snip} “Relevant international standards require that detention be used only as an exceptional measure, justified, narrowly tailored and proportional in each individual case, and that it be subject to judicial review,” the experts said.

The law could result in potential discrimination against Mexicans, indigenous peoples and other minorities in Arizona, the U.N. officials said.

They also said they are concerned about the enactment of a law prohibiting Arizona school programs featuring the histories and cultures of ethnic minorities because everyone has the right to learn about his own cultural and linguistic heritage.

The six U.N. human rights experts, who are unpaid, are

–{snip} Jorge Bustamante of Mexico;

–Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance Githu Muigai of Kenya;

–{snip} James Anaya of the United States;

–{snip} Farida Shaheed of Pakistan;

–{snip} Vernor Munos Villalobos of Costa Rica; and

–Independent Expert on minority issues Gay McDougall of the United States.