NAACP Takes Outrage Over Voter ID Laws to the UN

Benjamin Jealous wants human rights council to 'shame them'
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 11, 2012 5:18 PM CDT
Benjamin Jealous, President and CEO of National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, speaks at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Monday, July 25, 2011.   (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

(Newser) – The NAACP is taking its battle against new US voting laws all the way to Geneva, McClatchy reports. The venerable civil rights organization plans to argue next week before a United Nations panel that a recent crop of voting laws violate civil and human rights. Members of the United Nations Human Rights Council, which agreed to hear the argument, will get a break from their usual caseload involving far-flung nations like Syria and the Ivory Coast.

The UN can't actually change laws in US states, but NAACP president Benjamin Jealous says he hopes the international body can exert public pressure: "The power of the UN on state governments historically is to shame them and to put pressure on the US government to bring them into line with global standards for democracy." Since last year, 15 states have approved laws requiring proof of citizenship before voting—a standard the NAACP says disenfranchises millions of black voters.

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