Chicago groups demand inquiry into discrimination, violence, and erosion of education and democracy
By Sarah Lazare, Published July 29, 2013 by commondreams.org
Chicago human rights advocates are demanding a United Nations investigation into the human rights abuses stemming from the closure of 49 public schools throughout the city.
The Midwest Coalition for Human Rights—a coalition of over 50 social justice organizations, service providers, and university centers, sent a “letter of allegation” to the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights in Switzerland, written by University of Chicago law professor Sital Kalantry with wide community input.
The letter charges that the mass school shutdown stands in direct violation of multiple human rights treaties of which the US is a signatory, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
“The closing of 49 public schools in Chicago implicates the human rights of children, their parents and guardians to non-discrimination and equality, to be free from violence, to education, and to participate in public policy decisions,” the letter reads.
The closures violate prohibition of discrimination, because “African American children make up 42% of the students in Chicago’s public schools, but 80% of the children impacted by the school closures are African American,” the letter declares.