Elisa Massimino

Recent Articles

Holding America Accountable

Eleanor Roosevelt, the mother of the international human-rights movement, famously said: “Where do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home. So close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm, or office where he works.” The human-rights treaties to which the United States is a party -- on civil and political rights, torture, and racial discrimination -- are intended to protect people “close to home” against government abuses of their rights. But most Americans have never heard of them. Neither have the domestic agencies that have -- or ought to have -- protection of these rights as part of their mandate. In the United States, human-rights matters begin -- and largely end -- in the State Department, where they are treated as a matter of foreign policy. Perhaps the only welcome consequence of the Abu Ghraib prison...