After a hiatus, the Torch is back! Look for more regular postings in the coming weeks. Today's update is from our new Prisoner Rights Fellow, Rebecca Paddock:

Last week, for the first time, the U.S. faced close scrutiny of its human rights record in a formal U.N. process known as the Universal Periodic Review. The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) was established by the UN General Assembly in 2006 as a process through which the human rights records of the United Nations’ 192 Member States could be reviewed and assessed. This review, conducted through the UN Human Rights Council (HRC), is based upon human rights obligations and commitments expressed in the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and human rights instruments to which the State is party.

In April, the ACLU submitted a 10-page report focusing on access to justice and the right to effective remedy. The information provided by the ACLU and other members of civil society will be used by the U.N. Human Rights Council to review the U.S.’ report to the Council. This is a historic moment for the United States and is an important step towards protecting and promoting human rights at home. For more information on the UPR proceedings visit