Blog of Rights

Mandela Faced the "Goliath" of Racial Discrimination

Mandela Faced the "Goliath" of Racial Discrimination

By Dennis Parker, Director, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 3:21pm
Nelson Mandela's life is a rebuke to oppression and to those who would respond with frustrated resignation or hatred. It is difficult to imagine a more unlikely success story against seemingly impossible odds. South Africa's system of apartheid seemed like the purest manifestation of racial discrimination possible. The fact that the discrimination was perpetrated by a small minority of whites against a majority of blacks in their own native land dictated that the means of maintaining the cruel racial hierarchy be extreme and pervasive. That the principal actor in the destruction of this unjust system would be an activist sentenced to life imprisonment in South Africa's notorious Robben Island is nearly miraculous.
Fairness for Workers Laboring in the Shadows

Fairness for Workers Laboring in the Shadows

By Sarah Mehta, Researcher, ACLU Human Rights Program at 1:05pm

Leopolda Zumaya was working as an apple picker in Pennsylvania when he fell from a tree, breaking his leg and leaving him with permanent nerve damage and a chronic pain disorder. A treating physician said Mr. Zumaya's injuries were among the worst…

The U.N. Acts to Protect the Human Right to Privacy

The U.N. Acts to Protect the Human Right to Privacy

By Steven M. Watt, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Human Rights Program at 1:18pm

The U.S. Senate failed last week to act to protect the privacy rights of Americans when the USA Freedom Act was rejected, but today, the United Nations took another step towards recognizing privacy rights for everyone.

This afternoon, a committee…

Disability Is No Excuse to Deprive One of Civil Liberties

Disability Is No Excuse to Deprive One of Civil Liberties

By Susan Mizner, Disability Counsel, ACLU at 3:20pm

The guardianship system in this country raises serious concerns. That's why the guardianship trial of Jenny Hatch, a vibrant and active 29-year-old in a battle over who controls her life, struck such a chord. Jenny spoke for many other people with…

The U.S. Record on Racial Discrimination is on the Whole World's Agenda

The U.S. Record on Racial Discrimination is on the Whole World's Agenda

By Chandra Bhatnagar, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Human Rights Program at 3:18pm

As the United Nations this week debated America's record on race, one name was on everyone's minds: Michael Brown. Not only Americans have been riveted this week by the tragic killing of the unarmed teenager, the subsequent protests, and the militarized…

Now Can Torture Survivor Khaled El-Masri Have His Apology?

Now Can Torture Survivor Khaled El-Masri Have His Apology?

By Steven M. Watt, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Human Rights Program at 2:33pm

The CIA's unlawful detention and torture of Khaled El-Masri has left him "a broken man," according to a McClatchy article published yesterday.

The story of El-Masri, an ACLU client, is especially poignant following the release of the Senate…

NEW LAWSUIT: Massive Human Rights Violations at Mississippi Prison

NEW LAWSUIT: Massive Human Rights Violations at Mississippi Prison

By Gabriel Eber, ACLU National Prison Project & Margaret Winter, National Prison Project at 10:34am

East Mississippi Correctional Facility is hyper-violent, grotesquely filthy and dangerous. Patients with severe psychiatric disabilities go without basic mental health care. Many prisoners attempt suicide. This video is the story of a young man who…

The Horrific Stories of CIA-sponsored Torture That Aren’t in the Senate Report.

The Horrific Stories of CIA-sponsored Torture That Aren’t in the Senate Report.

By Steven M. Watt, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Human Rights Program at 1:46pm

This piece originally appeared at Slate.

As bad as the stories in the Senate torture report are, there is a whole class of victims who aren't even mentioned. The executive summary released last week makes only passing reference to an integral…

NSA Surveillance Unravels International Law

NSA Surveillance Unravels International Law

By Zak Newman, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 1:29pm

It wasn't long ago that President Obama announced on Reddit, "We will fight hard to make sure that the internet remains the open forum for everybody - from those who are expressing an idea to those who want to start a business."

The NSA's surveillance…

Replacing the Noose With a Needle: The Legacy of Lynching in the United States

Replacing the Noose With a Needle: The Legacy of Lynching in the United States

By Angel Harris, Staff Attorney, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 2:28pm

Ida B. Wells said it best, "Our country's national crime is lynching."

Last week, we were reminded of this when the Equal Justice Initiative released its report, "Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror." A gruesome history…