For over 200 years, the residents of Washington, DC have been denied voting rights equal to all other American citizens. Today, there are over 570,000 residents in the capital city who do not have a vote in Congress, though they pay taxes and serve in their nation's armed forces. They are the only residents of any capital city in the Western Hemisphere who are deprived of equal representation in their own national legislature.
US domestic courts will not consider challenges to these exclusionary and discriminatory standards because they are explicitly authorized under the Constitution, and numerous political efforts to gain equal voting rights for the District have failed.
Worldrights is pleased to announce a victory in the realm of international human rights law on behalf of the citizens of the District of Columbia.
Milestone Victory for DC: OAS Decision
In February 2004, Worldrights released news of a milestone victory in the struggle for equal rights for DC: the December 2003 decision by the Organization of American States (OAS) Inter-American Commission on Human Rights finding the US government in violation of international human rights law with regard to the status of District residents, notwithstanding the US Constitution. The decision was the result of nearly 11 years of deliberation by the OAS. Timothy Cooper, Executive Director of Worldrights, was the architect of the case.
The “Whole World is Watching” Campaign calls for:
(1) A Hearing before the US Helsinki Commission
(2) Interventions by OSCE (Organization for Security & Cooperation in Europe) Member States on the District's behalf, utilizing the Moscow Mechanism,
(3) An OAS General Assembly Resolution
(4) A UN General Assembly Resolution
For archives on this issue, click on “US Link Page”
Whole World is Watching Campaign for Equal Voting Rights
- Washingtonians Seek Polish Assistance for D.C. Voting Rights, Lobby for Sponsor of U.N. General Assembly Resolution:
Letter to His Excellency Przemyslaw Grudzinski
- New Call for U.S. Helsinki Commission to Hold Hearings on U.S. Compliance with OSCE Democratic Election Standards
Letter to Commission 8/10/04
- Draft U.N. General Assembly Resolution calling on U.S. To Comply with OAS Recommendations:
U.N. General Assembly Resolution (English) (Polish)
- Letter to US Helsinki Commission Requesting Hearing on DC Voting Rights
- Letter to OAS Ambassadors (English) (Spanish)
- Letters to OSCE Ambassadors (English) (Spanish) (French) (Russian)