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The United States’ international leadership in promoting human rights around the world is strengthened by state and local officials’ efforts to employ and advance human rights close to home. Indeed, state and local human rights and human relations commissions can play a pivotal role in help- ing the U.S. meet its own human rights obligations by ensuring fairness, dignity and opportunity for all in their communities.

This Toolkit provides information about a recent review of the United States’ human rights record under the United Nations’ Universal Periodic Review (“UPR”), which revealed a number of areas in which the United States can improve local conditions on issues that state and local agen- cies confront on a routine basis. Included here is a brief background on the UPR, information regarding the core human rights treaties the United States has ratified and a discussion of the role that state and local governments play in fulfilling the United States’ human rights commitments. Included, too, are practical suggestions for how state and local human rights and human relations agencies and com- missions can work to address human rights concerns in the following areas:

  • Employment Discrimination
  • Housing Discrimination
  • Racial Profiling