>Ann Fagan Ginger
>Challenging U.S. Human Rights Violations
>Ann Fagan Ginger is Executive Director of the Meiklejohn Civil Liberties
>Institute (MCLI), a non-profit organization founded in 1965 that seeks to
>promote social change by increasing the recognition and use of existing
>human rights and peace law at the local, national, and international
>Ann is currently editing an MCLI report containing the broadest coverage
>of human rights violations ever attempted, Challenging U.S. Human Rights
>Violations Since 9/11, to be published by Prometheus Books on March 30,
>2005, and to be submitted as a Report to the U.S. State Department in
>Washington and to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
>and three UN committees.
Speaking as a lawyer woman activist, Ann began her talk by explaining that she came from an English Quaker, Irish Catholic, Lithuanian Jewish, Midwestern Socialist Union background. Her first job had been working a linotype machine at her father's newspaper in Michigan.  She graduated with a Law Degree from the University of Michigan, in a class with seven other women, none of whom were able to find jobs as lawyers at the time. Despite all the obstacles, she has since argued and won a case in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Ann then explained some specific treaties that the Bush Administration has violated. These include things like United Nations Charter Article 2, Section 4: "All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations." She pointed out that there was no exception in the Charter for Presidents named "Bush" or anything else. There are clear violations of treaties that the USA has ratified, and they are part of "the supreme law of the land" under U.S. Constitution Art. VI, cl. 2.

That was not the only one, the USA is also in violation of Article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which the Senate ratified April 2nd, 1992 at the request of GHWB. That one sounded like the 4th Amendment, which everyone says is under attack from the PATRIOT Act.  In addition to that she had us read Article 2 of the Convention Against Torture, which the USA ratified in 1994.  That one was clearly violated by the Abu Ghareb incident at least. There were more, but you get the idea. There are areas where the Bush Administration, and the USA under it, are in clear violation of treaty law.

Because doing something about this is going to take a large public movement, Ann edited a book containing 180 reports of alleged violations of important treaties and laws that merit further attention. It also has the relevant texts of the treaties, US Constitution, and a number of other things like the Nuremberg Principals so people could have all the documents in one convenient package. She is introducing the book next week at the Church Center for the United Nations in New York, and after that she will be doing a speaking tour to promote it. A copy can be purchased online at:


During Q&A these points came up:

If people are looking for something to do at the local level, a good one is to pass the Human Rights articles 55 and 56 of the UN Charter as local law. They did it in Berkeley by replacing the words "United Nations" with "City of Berkeley".  At the time it seemed a bit silly, even though it sounded good. However, since then they have been able to say no to requests from the FBI for unconstitutional actions because of City Ordinance #5985N.S. on quite a few occasions.

The Meiklejohn (pronounced Michael-John) Civil Liberties Institute has been working on behalf of peace and human rights for 40 years. It keeps track of documents like the briefs and transcripts in the Pentagon Papers case that don't make it into books of court reports in cases because the case was won at trial. Over the years they have collected 400 boxes of important papers, and they have since been given to UC Berkeley's Bancroft Library. The Institute works out of a small building in Ann Fagan Ginger's back yard.

The United Nations International Court of Justice ruled that Nuclear Weapons to be illegal because of a case initiated by a small Asian country that got a majority vote in the UN General Assembly to ask the Court to decide that question. She showed us her book about the case: "Nuclear Weapons Are Illegal: The Historic Opinion of the World Court and How It Will Be Enforced."

Tian Harter