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UN raps US civil rights record on secret programs, judicial policies, racial disparities

A United Nations panel finds the United States has fallen short of meeting its obligations under an international civil rights treaty, pointing to a lack of adequate oversight and transparency in its programs of electronic surveillance, targeted drone killings and secret detentions.

The U.N. Human Rights Committee says there has been improvement in some areas since the last such review in 2006. However, major concerns remain with prolonged solitary confinement of prisoners, sentencing of life without parole for juvenile offenders, racial disparities in the use of the death penalty and laws hindering felons from voting.

The panel's report Thursday also urges improved U.S. compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by providing "full voting rights" to residents of Washington, D.C.

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