International Organization Finds U.S. Violating the Rights of Protestors

The right to peacefully assemble, enshrined both in the U.S. Constitution and international human rights law, is an intrinsic element of the democratic fabric of the United States. Yet according to a report released Friday by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), an international organization of which the U.S. is a member, America is failing to uphold this fundamental right. The report is the first comprehensive OSCE report on violation of the right to freedom of peaceful assembly that covers the U.S.

The report, based on observations of 27 assemblies, demonstrations, and counter-demonstrations in 11 countries including the U.S., conveyed concern about the use of excessive force and undue restrictions on peaceful assembly. Specifically, the OSCE criticized the use of excessive force, mass arrests, kettling, arrests of journalists, camp evictions, and permit requirements in the U.S. generally, and New York, Chicago, and Oakland specifically. The report recommended 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 report documents many of the same First Amendment violations against Occupy protesters that ACLU affiliates in New York, Northern California, and elsewhere in the country have been exposing and challenging. The report also comes on the heels of extensive reporting on violations of the rights of protestors by civil society groups in the U.S. This week, professors and students from the law schools of NYU and Harvard presented their findings to the OSCE, and voiced support for continued OSCE efforts to monitor freedom of assembly in America.

Human rights organizations, including the ACLU, are calling upon the U.S. to heed the OSCE report’s key recommendations and ensure that all citizens are allowed to exercise their fundamental right to peacefully assemble.

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from Richard, V...

I'm sensitive to this issue, b/c I did not find the war protesters of the Vietnam Era to be "peaceful" by ANY definition of that word. They called themselves doves, but I never envisioned doves to be people who would wait at points of deplaning soldiers so they could call the returning veterans "baby killers" and all kinds of other names with no thought to whether there was any truth to the accusations.
And throwing objects at them is not "peaceful demonstration." It pretty well defines aggressive behavior as opposed to a peaceful assembly.
I take exception to being called a baby killer, b/c it's blatantly untrue and I felt no need to confirm or deny whether I did or didn't have to perform the ugly duties of war that I was selected to do based on receiving a low lottery number that guaranteed me a trip to Vietnam.

Why did these people direct all their anger at noncom's and lower number enlisted men instead of the government where it REALLY belonged? If they wanted to assemble to protest, it would have made more sense to go to the people who were in control of what our military does. That WASN'T me or most of the returning veterans, and I refuse to believe that hurling obscenities and expletives at us is indicative of a peaceful protest. I believe the behavior is inappropriate and serves no purpose other than inciting people's anger.

Otherwise, I'd have had no problem with anybody protesting the war, as I never wanted to go to Vietnam myself. Several singers and bands voiced protests through their music but not one of them used such vulgar terminology to describe the people called to war. Their protests were directed in large part at the government, which was fine with me.

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