Blog: Occupy

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September 24, 2013

Wednesday, Sept. 25: Peaceful Assembly, from Occupy to Taksim Square

Event Notice

September 25, 2013

“Peaceful Assembly: From Occupy to Taksim Square”

 

5:00 p.m.

WCC 2009

Harvard Law School

 

HRP Poster-Peaceful AssemblyEven in the age of electronic communication, the physical presence of demonstrators is an important vehicle for political protest, as recent events around the world confirm. What ground rules should govern the political use of public space? This panel will discuss both First Amendment and international human rights approaches to peaceful assemblies, in general and in relation to the Occupy movement.

Panelists include: Noah Feldman, Bemis Professor of Law, Harvard Law School; Charles Fried, Beneficial Professor of Law, Harvard Law School; Deborah Popowski, Clinical Instructor and Lecturer on Law, Harvard Law School; Mark Tushnet, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law, Harvard Law School; and moderator Gerald L. Neuman, J. Sinclair Armstrong Professor of International, Foreign, and Comparative Law, Harvard Law School.

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November 9, 2012

International Experts Criticize U.S. Response to Occupy; Clinic Presents at Conference on Protest Rights

PRESS RELEASE

International Experts Call for U.S. to Respect Protest Rights; Criticize Officials’ Responses to Occupy Movement

(Vienna, Austria, 9 November 2012) – Today, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) issued a report finding that some U.S. authorities’ responses to the Occupy Wall Street movement involved excessive police force, unjustified mass arrests, disproportionately large numbers of police, and violated the rights of journalists.

“The OSCE report confirms recent findings by U.S. groups of violations of protest rights, and demonstrates the urgent need to reform the way some cities, including New York, regulate and police protests,” said Professor Sarah Knuckey of New York University (NYU) School of Law, who co-led an eight-month investigation by law school clinics into the treatment of Occupy Wall Street in New York.

The OSCE findings result from the organization’s first investigations of assembly rights in the United States, and were presented at a meeting of government and civil society representatives from over 50 countries. The United States is a member state of the OSCE, and has committed to guarantee the freedom of peaceful assembly.

The OSCE report issued today recommends that U.S. authorities ensure the right to free assembly, including by facilitating protest camps and marches as much as possible, limiting police use of force, promptly investigating police misconduct, and not dispersing assemblies merely for lack of permits.

The OSCE’s findings follow extensive U.S. civil society reporting of protest rights violations, including a detailed report by law clinics at NYU and Fordham Law Schools, Suppressing Protest: Human Rights Violations in the U.S. Response to Occupy Wall Street. Professors and students from NYU and Harvard Law School were invited to the OSCE this week to present their findings, and to discuss concerns and reforms with civil society and representatives from governments, the OSCE, and the United Nations. The Clinics, on behalf of U.S. groups, also voiced support for OSCE work monitoring freedom of assembly, and called for continued OSCE work in the United States.

“Attending the OSCE forum gave us an opportunity to hear accounts from people around the world who, like the U.S. Occupy movement, are using public space to voice dissent. These accounts made clear that while peaceful protests are proliferating, so are governments’ tactics of repression,” said Deborah Popowski, Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School.

“There is no part of the world where suppression of protest is not a problem, and the U.S. is no exception,” said Maina Kiai, the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, who attended the OSCE meetings.

“Fighting for a meaningful right of free assembly is vital because there can be no democracy without this right. There is no choice – we have to succeed if we want to leave the world a better place for those who come after us,” said Kiai.

Further information:

About the work of the law clinics here

About OSCE’s work on assembly rights, and its Monitoring Report here.

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May 30, 2012

Daring to Be a Doer: Profile of Clara Long, JD ’12

Posted by Corydon Ireland, Harvard News

Note: A shorter version of this profile appeared in the May 24, 2012 issue of the Harvard Gazette

Clad in black, with her mortarboard jaunty, Clara J. K. Long received a J.D. from Harvard Law School on May 24. She was one of hundreds that day – but surely the only one who had lived in a Brazilian landfill.

Clara Long, a longtime member of the Clinic, plans to pursue a career in human rights advocacy. Photo Credit: Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer

Back then, Long was a Brown University undergraduate helping to organize city trash pickers. She lived on sliding mounds of trash, with noisy birds wheeling overhead, for just one month. But the experience is an emblem of the eccentric verve with which Long has so far lived her young life. As a teenager she jumped on a plane to tour Russia, roamed through Central America with just a backpack and bravery for company, hiked 500 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail, and one summer – still a biology major then – grew cancer cells in a New York City laboratory.

In her 20s, she worked alongside peasant socialists in Brazil, summered as a grant writer in Tanzania, taught filmmaking in Burundi, interviewed residents of the U.S.-Mexican border as a young journalist, helped with an anti-debt slavery campaign in the Brazilian Amazon, worked as a “fixer” – advance person and translator – for American journalists in Venezuela, and as a law student did grinding rounds of legal work in American and South American prisons. This was before and after graduating from Brown University in 2004, and earning a master’s degree from the London School of Economics (2005) and another (in journalism) from Stanford University (2007). As part of the journey, Long mastered three new languages – French, Spanish, and Portuguese. (Today she is studying Swahili, whose grammar she calls “a gift.”)

During these years, alongside a passion for adventure, Long embraced an equal and motivating passion for justice and human rights. In all, the life this 32-year-old has lived so far was summed up nicely years ago by Paul Tillich, the Protestant theologian: “In every act of justice,” he said, “daring is necessary and risk is unavoidable.”

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