NAACP Takes Voting Rights Fight to United Nations

NAACP Takes Voting Rights Fight to United Nations

NAACP president Benjamin Jealous hopes the U.N. will take a stand on restrictive voting laws and wants the world to understand their impact.

Published March 9, 2012

Civil rights activists are protesting old school this month, beginning with the weeklong reenactment of the Bloody Sunday march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama led by the National Action Network. Next week, NAACP leaders will appear before the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland to challenge new voting rights laws as it did decades ago to galvanize support from the global community in its battle for equal rights for African-Americans.


“It was in 1947 that W.E.B. Dubois delivered his speech and appealed to the world at the U.N.,” NAACP president Benjamin Todd Jealous told reporters Thursday. “Now, like then, the principal concern is voting rights.”


Jealous said that the NAACP delegation will make an oral presentation and present the report it released in December titled Defending Democracy: Confronting Modern Barriers to Voting Rights in America, that details new voting laws and their impact. In addition, two Americans — a woman who cannot vote because of a felony conviction and a University of Texas student who may not be able to vote because under the law approved by the Texas state legislature student IDs are no longer acceptable — will testify about how these laws would affect them.


“We’re hoping they will come over here, actually look at the impact of these laws, look at the intent of these laws where it’s been clearly stated and render their opinion and recommendations about what actions we should take with regard to these laws,” Jealous said. “The second thing that we’re seeking to do is make sure that the world understands what these laws do, that their impact is clearly to diminish access to the polls amongst poor people and specifically minority groups.”


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(Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Written by Joyce Jones


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