Protest And Assembly Rights Project

In January 2012, international human rights and civil liberties clinics at seven law schools across the United States formed the Protest and Assembly Rights Project. This joint project investigated the US government’s response to Occupy Wall Street in light of its international legal obligations, with the aim of promoting rights-respecting government responses to protests.

The Global Justice Clinic was a Project Director and Coordinator, along with Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic; Fordham Law School’s Walter Leitner International Human Rights Clinic; and Stanford Law School’s International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic. Participating clinics were: Charlotte School of Law’s Civil Rights Clinic; the Community Justice Section of Loyola Law Clinic-New Orleans; and Rutgers School of Law-Newark’s Constitutional Litigation Clinic.

Sarah Knuckey, then CHRGJ Research Director, led the NYU team. Current CHRGJ Executive Director Deborah Popowski, then Clinical Instructor and Lecturer on Law at the International Human Rights Clinic, led the Harvard team.


Occupy Wall Street: New York City

In June 2012, the Global Justice Clinic and the Walter Leitner International Human Rights Clinic co-published the report, Suppressing Protest: Human Rights Violations in the US Response to Occupy Wall Street, which documented extensive human rights violations in the response to Occupy Wall Street in New York City.

Documented abuses included:

The report called for a major independent review of New York City’s response to Occupy; for legislators to establish an independent Inspector General to oversee policing practices; for police to implement a new protest policing policy that prioritizes respect for human rights. It also called for federal authorities to investigate New York City practice if local authorities refused to take the necessary steps to remedy and prevent violations. It received widespread coverage in local, national, and international press, including The New York Times and The Atlantic.

Supervised Global Justice Clinic students worked on all aspects of the project, including project design, coordination, fact-finding, security and confidentiality assessments, legal research on subpoena risks and other topics, interviewing of witnesses, report-writing, and media strategy.  Following the publication of the report, Clinic students designed advocacy strategies to continue to generate attention to the report’s key findings and recommendations.



For a complete record of CHRGJ’s work related to the Protest and Assembly Rights Project, visit our searchable Document Center and News and Events archives.

Related Documents
Legal Filings
December 27, 2012
Protest and Assembly Rights: Suggested List of Issues to UPS Country Report Task Force on the United States
View Document
Reports and Briefing Papers
November 9, 2012
Report on the Monitoring of Freedom of Peaceful Assembly in Selected OSCE Participating States (May 2011–June 2012)
View Document
Reports and Briefing Papers
August 25, 2012
Suppressing Protest: Human Rights Violations in the U.S. Response to Occupy Wall Street
View Document
Related News
Press Releases
November 9, 2012
International Experts Call for US to Respect Protest Rights; Criticize Officials’ Responses to Occupy Movement
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Press Coverage
August 2, 2012
Accusations of Police Misconduct Documented in Lawyers’ Report on Occupy Protests
New York Times
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Press Coverage
July 25, 2012
14 Specific Allegations of NYPD Brutality during Occupy Wall Street
The Atlantic
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