Friday, November 8, 2013

Does Berkeley comply with international human rights standards?

George Lippman, vice-chair of the Berkeley Peace and Justice Commission, will speak at UC Berkeley on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013 from 6:30-7:30pm in 255 Dwinelle Hall.  Sponsored by Human Rights of the Incarcerated at Cal.

George will talk about how the city of Berkeley is doing in terms of compliance with international human rights treaties (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights/ICCPR and Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment/CAT). 

Peace and Justice is an official Berkeley city commission that advises the city council and school board on all matters of peace and social justice. The Commission has drafted in-depth reports comparing international requirements to the actual living conditions in our city.  The treaties and the UN require that all countries take a deep, honest look at their human rights performance.

On Tuesday December 17, the City Council will review the commission's reports and decide whether to send them to the State Department and the UN. The Commission requests social justice organizations to send letters to the City Clerk (, asking the Council to approve our balanced reports of the pros and cons of life in Berkeley. Please send your letter by the end of November.

This fall, our local government can make history by holding itself accountable to the international community on human rights issues. The reports address issues such as racial disparities in education, health, housing, and treatment by police; assaults on the dignity of women, youth, and the homeless; and examining the effects of county, state and federal incarceration agencies on local residents. 

Here are the compliance reports that the Peace and Justice Commission has drafted on human rights in Berkeley.

Please spread the word about this timely and educational event. Feel free to copy and paste the info above to send to list-serves or post in Facebook groups.

HRI increases awareness of cycles of incarceration and the Prison-Industrial Complex in the UC Berkeley community and supports a network of campus resources for student engagement. Member organizations include: Amnesty International at UC Berkeley; Bears Beyond Bars; Get on the Bus; Teach in Prison DECal; Youth Empowerment Program; and Universal Love and Peace.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

A Step on the Road for Civil Rights in Berkeley

On February 14, the Coalition for a Safe Berkeley brought some 25 speakers to press the City Council to protect civil rights and civil liberties in its police policies. Council asked the Police Department and the civilian Police Review Commission to evaluate our recommendations report back by May 15.

See here for my view of the outcome, as published in the Berkeley Daily Planet.

Also see this article in Saturday's Daily Cal with extensive quotes from Berkeley City Councilmember Jesse Arreguin and me, on the campaign to ban intelligence sharing by the BPD on legal activities.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Police should follow Berkeley's values in public safety

All out to the Berkeley City Council meeting!

Tuesday, February 14, 2011, 7pm
Old City Hall, 2134 MLK Jr. Way

Peace and Justice urges the Council to:

* Withdraw from the Fusion Center, a police intelligence-sharing network
* Respect First Amendment-protected activity in our police activity and mutual aid
* End local police cooperation with ICE (immigration) detainer requests

See the January 9 Peace and Justice Commission letter to City Council (you may need to click the Download button):

"Recommendation for Changes to BPD Agreements and Policies"


Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Monday October 24, 2011


Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian-Universalists (BFUU)

1924 Cedar at Bonita, Berkeley

Speak-Out and Community Forum on Civil Rights in Berkeley in the Face of “Secure Communities”

(S-Comm), Political Surveillance, and Profiling

The Coalition for a Safe Berkeley will host a Speak-Out on October 24, 2011, to unveil proposed city legislation to protect civil and human rights in the face of increasing federal surveillance, repression, deportations and racial profiling.

Berkeley residents who have committed no crime are being deported based on ICE (immigration) holds, while racial profiling occurs continually in Berkeley. Meanwhile, political surveillance involving local police is on the rise across the Bay Area.

The Speak-Out will feature testimony from Berkeley residents (and others) about their personal experiences with these abuses of civil and human rights.

The following human rights leaders will provide background information:

Ø Veena Dubal, Lead Attorney, Asian Law Caucus: Political and religious surveillance

Ø Shahid Buttar, Executive Director, Bill of Rights Defense Committee: campaigns around the country to restore civil rights

Ø Cinthya Munoz, Immigrant Rights Organizer with Causa Justa::Just Cause: “Secure Communities Program”

This panel will speak to the power of municipal civil rights restoration ordinances to restrain local police collaboration with repressive federal agencies.

Members of the Coalition for a Safe Berkeley include: American Civil Liberties Union Northern California (Berkeley/North East Bay Chapter), Asian Law Caucus, Berkeley City Councilmember Jesse Arreguin, Bill of Rights Defense Committee, Black Alliance for Just Immigration, Council on American Islamic Relations, FMLN Berkeley, National Lawyers Guild (Bay Area Chapter), National Network on Immigrant and Refugee Rights (partial list).

To see selected accomplishments of the Peace and Justice Commission during my tenure, please visit: