Chicago & Illinois: A 10-Point Human Rights Agenda

April 1, 2014

Chicago & Illinois: A 10-Point Human Rights Agenda

Amnesty International's report, Bringing Human Rights Home to Chicago and Illinois, is an action-oriented blueprint for advancing human rights in Chicago and Illinois. The report, prepared in connection with Amnesty International USA's annual Human Rights Conference, outlines ten pressing human rights issues facing the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois as a whole and recommends steps for immediate action by city, state and/or federal officials.

Bringing Human Rights Home to Chicago and Illinois focuses on:

  1. Reparations for survivors of torture by Chicago police from the 1970s to 1990s, involving more than 100 suspects
  2. An array of human rights impacted by gun violence in Chicago
  3. Potential human rights violations connected to school closures, including lack of access to quality education and children placed at risk of violence or death
  4. Human rights challenges in the Illinois criminal justice system, including a prison population that has quadrupled over a thirty-year period
  5. Concerns about racial profiling in Illinois, including investigatory street stops in Chicago
  6. The use of Tasers by law enforcement officials
  7. The use of prolonged and indefinite solitary confinement in the Illinois justice system
  8. The sentencing of juveniles to life without parole in Illinois
  9. Concerns about immigrant human rights, including at three immigration detention facilities in Illinois
  10. Gaps in ensuring human rights of LGBTQI individuals and communities, including gaps in addressing hate crimes and policing practices related to gender identity and sexual orientation in Chicago


In each of the ten areas of focus, Amnesty International makes recommendations for immediate action by city, state and/or federal officials:

1. Torture: Ensure allegations of torture or other ill-treatment are investigated, perpetrators are prosecuted and victims are compensated. The Chicago City Council should pass the ordinance introduced by Aldermen Moreno and Brookins providing reparations for Chicago police torture survivors. Read More

2. Gun Violence: Ensure human rights are part of the strategy to address gun violence, including a call for all federal legislators in Illinois to co-sponsor, and the US Congress to pass, the Youth Prison Reduction through Opportunities, Mentoring, Intervention, Support, and Education Act ("Youth PROMISE Act") (H.R. 1381 and S. 1307), a bi-partisan bill that would fund, implement and evaluate evidence-based locally run youth and gang violence prevention and intervention programs, including in Chicago. Read More

3. Education: Local, state and federal officials should ensure that children enjoy their right to be protected from harm and discrimination, and that their access to education is not restricted. The "Safe Passage Routes" should continue to be adequately resourced to ensure that all children's right to life and security of the person are respected.

4. Criminal Justice: Illinois state legislators should undertake a comprehensive review of the state's criminal justice system policies and practices and implement reforms that would address mass incarceration, prison conditions, harsh mandatory minimum sentences, discriminatory profiling by law enforcement, unnecessary or excessive use of force by law enforcement, as well as racial and economic disparities that exist at every stage of the criminal justice system.