NLIHC and Disaster Law Project Submit Recommendations to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

NLIHC and the Disaster Law Project (DLP) submitted recommendations to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on May 20 regarding disaster recovery policies the committee should review during its assessment of U.S. policies. The letter urges the committee to focus on the rampant racial inequities in disaster recovery.

“The U.S. review provides an opportunity not only to address income inequality, racial discrimination, and disaster response failures as independent treaty violations, but to bring those factors together, highlight their interdependence, and center racial discrimination as a determining cause of climate vulnerability that warrants scrutiny under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination [ICERD],” states the letter.

When disasters strike, the lowest-income survivors – who, because of generations of racist policies, are often disproportionately people of color, seniors, and people with disabilities – are often hardest hit, have the fewest resources, and face the longest, steepest paths to recovery. The letter proposes four suggested themes to help guide the committee’s work, including the role of the U.S. in:

  • Creating climate vulnerability by failing to fully acknowledge and remedy the most extreme and obvious examples of racial injustice, including race-based enslavement, Native American “removal,” and colonial exploitation of island territories.
  • Perpetuating climate vulnerability among households of color by failing to remedy ongoing income and housing disparities.
  • Deepening climate vulnerability by making it harder for households of color to recover from a disaster.
  • Failing to protect the rule of law following a disaster.

Read the letter at: