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 Decade: 2000-2009
 Year: 2009
 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
The United Nations Human Rights Council: Issues for Congress

The United Nations Human Rights Council: Issues for Congress

Date: June 1, 2009
Creator: Blanchfield, Luisa
Description: On March 15, 2006, the U.N. General Assembly passed a resolution replacing the Commission on Human Rights with a new Human Rights Council (the Council). The Council was designed to be an improvement over the Commission, which was widely criticized for the composition of its membership when perceived human rights abusers were elected as members. This report discusses the history of the Council, the previous participation of the Bush Administration, the current participation of the Obama Administration, and ongoing international and Congressional concerns of the credibility and effectiveness of the Council.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Access to Government Information in the United States

Access to Government Information in the United States

Date: August 31, 2009
Creator: Ginsberg, Wendy R.
Description: The U.S. Constitution makes no specific allowance for any one of the three branches of the federal government to have access to information held by the others. No provision in the U.S. Constitution expressly establishes a procedure for public access to government information. Congress has legislated various public access laws. Among these laws are two records access statutes, The Freedom of Information Act, the Privacy Act, and two meetings access statutes, the Federal Advisory Committee Act, and the Government in the Sunshine Act. This report offers an overview of the four information access laws noted above, and provides citations to additional resources related to these tools.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Freedom of Speech and Press: Exceptions to the First Amendment

Freedom of Speech and Press: Exceptions to the First Amendment

Date: October 16, 2009
Creator: Cohen, Henry
Description: This report provides an overview of the major exceptions to the First Amendment - of the ways that the Supreme Court has interpreted the guarantee of freedom of speech and press to provide no protection or only limited protection for some types of speech. For example, the Court has decided that the First Amendment provides no protection to obscenity, child pornography, or speech that constitutes "advocacy of the use of force or of law violation ... where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action."
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Gun Control: Statutory Disclosure Limitations on ATF Firearms Trace Data and Multiple Handgun Sales Reports

Gun Control: Statutory Disclosure Limitations on ATF Firearms Trace Data and Multiple Handgun Sales Reports

Date: May 27, 2009
Creator: Krouse, William J.
Description: This report briefly describes a provision known as the "Tiahrt" amendment, a rider on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) appropriations that prohibits ATF from disclosing firearm trace data and multiple handgun sales reports data for any purpose other than supporting a criminal investigatoin or agency licensing proceeding. The Tiahrt amendment is so called because its sponsor is Representative Todd Tiahrt. A coalition of 210 city mayors favors the repeal of this rider, but there is much opposition to that motion.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Cuba: U.S. Restrictions on Travel and Remittances

Cuba: U.S. Restrictions on Travel and Remittances

Date: August 10, 2009
Creator: Sullivan, Mark P.
Description: The first half of this report looks at the background of U.S. travel restrictions to Cuba over the last 40 years. The second half of this report looks at several initiatives from the 111th Congress that would ease U.S. travel restrictions to Cuba.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Human Rights in China: Trends and Policy Implications

Human Rights in China: Trends and Policy Implications

Date: June 12, 2009
Creator: Lum, Thomas & Fischer, Hannah
Description: This report analyzes China's mixed record on human rights -- major human rights problems, new human rights legislation, and the development of civil society, legal awareness, and social and political activism. This report discusses major areas of interest but does not provide an exhaustive account of all human rights abuses or related incidents.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Human Rights in China: Trends and Policy Implications

Human Rights in China: Trends and Policy Implications

Date: July 13, 2009
Creator: Lum, Thomas & Fischer, Hannah
Description: Human rights has long been a principal area of U.S. concern in its relations with the People's Republic of China (PRC). Policy makers are at odds regarding whether or not the U.S. policy of engagement with China has produced meaningful political reform. This report analyzes China's mixed record on human rights - major human rights problems, new human rights legislation, and the development of civil society, legal awareness, and social and political activism. This report discusses major areas of interest but does not provide an exhaustive account of all human rights abuses or related incidents.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department