Tag Archive: Global Justice Clinic

Jul 30 2012

Obama administration stonewalling UN questions about abuse of Occupy protesters

In December of 2011, the U.N. Special Rapporteur for the Protection of Free Expression, Frank La Rue, and the UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Peaceful Assembly, Maina Kiai, sent a letter to the Obama administration reminding the U.S. government of its international obligations to “take all necessary measures to guarantee that the rights and freedoms of all peaceful protesters be respected.”

This letter was prompted by the government’s response to the Occupy movement.

The Obama administration many months later has yet to respond:

Federal officials have yet to respond to two United Nations human rights envoys who formally requested that the UI.S. government protect Occupy protesters against excessive force by law enforcement officials.

In a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the two envoys called on U.S. officials to “explain the behavior of police departments that violently disbanded some Occupy protests last fall” and expressed concern that excessive use of force “could have been related to [the protesters’] dissenting views, criticisms of economic policies, and their legitimate work in the defense of human rights and fundamental freedoms.” …

In the letter, the envoys raised a particular concern that the “crowd control techniques used to manage and disperse these assemblies might have been intended to insert fear and intimidation on protesters throughout the country.”

The letter to the Obama administration was made public at the UN Human Rights Council meeting.