Puerto Rico Human Rights Conference: Resolution on the State of Human Rights in the US and for the Freedom of Oscar Lopez Rivera

The Human Rights Conference held in San Juan, Puerto Rico on December 7-10, 2012, organized by the Comite ProDerechos Humanos de Puerto Rico, issued the following resolution on the state of […]

derechosThe Human Rights Conference held in San Juan, Puerto Rico on December 7-10, 2012, organized by the Comite ProDerechos Humanos de Puerto Rico, issued the following resolution on the state of human rights in the US. The conference, which included the participation of Lamis Deek of Al-Awda and the National Lawyers Guild, Michael Deutsch, Jan Susler, and human rights attorneys and activists from Puerto Rico, the US, and Latin America, also issued resolutions on freeing Oscar Lopez Rivera, Puerto Rican political prisoner, and in support of Palestine.

Resolution on Human Rights in the US | Resolution on Oscar Lopez Rivera




WHEREAS, As a result of the global war on terrorism, first initiated by President Clinton, greatly developed and expanded by George Bush after 9/11, and continued, and further expanded under Barack Obama with bi-‐ partisan support, the U.S. government has now institutionalized within the U.S. legal system, counter insurgency methods of repression in violation of international human rights and the fundamental guarantees of the U.S. Constitution. These methods including the following:

1. The creation of the “Surveillance State,” which allows for the unfettered electronic surveillance of telephone communication, seizure of e mail correspondence, and the infiltration and spying on political, community and religious groups without judicial warrants.

2. The legalization of indefinite preventive detention and the use of military commissions with limited rights
of those accused.

3. The granting of impunity to torturers, their supervisors and legal enablers.

4. The use of espionage charges to criminalize “whistle blowers” and silence the exposure of government
Constitutional violations.

5. The use of the “material support” laws to prosecute and imprison activists for their First Amendment
speech and advocacy.

6. The use of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act to freeze the assets of Muslim charities and to designate organizations and individuals as “Special Global Terrorists” without due process, and thus prohibiting designees from any economic activities without prior government permission.

7. The arbitrary assertion of the “State Secrets Privilege” to block civil litigation by victims of torture, rendition or warrantless electronic surveillance, and the unjustified classification of millions of documents to allow for the cover-­‐up of government human rights violations.

8. The implementation of a secret drone program that allows for the assassinations abroad without, charges,
trial or any judicial review.

9. The targeting of the U.S. Muslim communities, including the infiltration of Mosques, the spying on Arab communities and the use of informants and undercover agents to set up young Muslim men on terrorism charges.

10. The use of special isolation prison units for Muslims and other targeted prisoners.

IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED THAT, the Congress of Derechos Humanos, 2012, held at the University of the Sacred Heart, San Juan, Puerto Rico, hereby calls upon the Obama Administration and the U.S. Congress to forthwith do the following:

A. Investigate and prosecute all claims of torture by victims of the global war on terrorism (GWOT).

B. Stop all drone attacks, and all other deprivations of life and liberty without full judicial due process.

C. Repeal the provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which allow for indefinite
preventive detention and the prosecution by military commissions.

D. Stop all warrant-­less electronic surveillance, and the seizure of e-­‐mails and the monitoring of cell phones without court orders.

E. Close the Guantanamo Prison and repatriate all its prisoners.

F. Stop all claims of the “State Secrets Privilege” to block victims of torture, rendition and warrant-­‐less
surveillance from seeking redress in U.S. courts.

G. Repeal all laws, including the material support laws and the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), which criminalize and punish First Amendment speech, advocacy, and charitable giving.

H. Stop all spying, infiltration of Mosques, community and political organizations and the manufacturing of so-­‐called terrorism cases against all Muslims and others.

I. Free all those targeted and imprisoned as a part of the global war on terrorism.

J. Repeal the U.S. Patriot Act.


WHEREAS, The U.S criminal justice system continues to detain, arrest, prosecute and imprison grossly disproportionate numbers of Black and Latino people. It has served to destroy Black and Latino communities, through racist law enforcement policies, practices and abuses. The varied abuses of the criminal justice system include the following:

1. The criminalization of our freedom fighters such as Oscar Lopez Rivera, Leonard Peltier, Sundiata Acoli, Herman Wallace, Chip Fitzgerald, Jamil al-­‐Amin, numerous Puerto Rican independentistas, Tommy Manning, Hugo Pinell, Eddie Conway, Russell Maroon Shoats, Jalil Muntaqim, Herman Bell, Kamau Sadiki, Robert Woodfox, Abdul Majid, David Gilbert, the Cuban 5, Judy Clark, Marilyn Buck, the San Francisco 8, Mumia Abu-­Jamal, the Move 9, Jaan Lamaan, Sekou Odinga and now attorney Lynne Stewart who have been subjected to harsh and inhuman conditions of confinement for many decades.

2. The incarceration of over 2.2 million people. Sixty to eighty percent of those incarcerated in states across the country are Black and Latino.

3. The subjugation of 4.8 million people to community supervision.

4. The incarceration of 70,000 children. The prosecution of 16 and 17 year olds as adults and incarceration of them in adult prisons.

5. Mass incarceration has resulted in leaving 8.3 million children with at least one incarcerated parent. One in every 28 American children has at least one incarcerated parent; but for Black children, the statistic is
1 in 9. Latino children are 3 times as likely as white children to have an incarcerated parent.

6. Frequent instances of police brutality and misconduct in states throughout the country.

7. Widespread disregard of the Constitutional and human rights of Black and Latino people through racist use of “stop and frisk” practices such as those in New York City. More than 4 million innocent New Yorkers were stopped, frisked and interrogated by NYPD in 2002, and 9 out of 10 of those stopped were Black and Latino.

8. Abusive and rampant use of solitary confinement in prisons in nearly every prison in the U.S, including the placement of children and mentally ill people in long-­‐term isolation.

9. The increased incarceration of the elderly at a rate of 64% in the past four years.

10. The imposition of the death penalty, which is still used in 37 states.

11. The disenfranchisement of people with a felony convictions in 11 states.

12. The subjection of people with criminal convictions to second class citizenship; denying them public benefits, access to higher education, residence in public housing, and access to employment.

IT IS HEREBY FURTHER RESOLVED THAT, the Congress of Derechos Humanos, 2012, held at the University of the Sacred Heart, San Juan, Puerto Rico, hereby calls upon the Obama Administration and the U.S. Congress to forthwith do the following:

A. Immediately release Oscar Lopez Rivera and the numerous other freedom fighters, political prisoners who have been held in U.S. prisons for decades.

B. End the practice of incarcerating children with adults and prosecuting children as adults.

C. End the racist “stop and frisk” practice.

D. Eliminate the racist application and enforcement of all criminal and penal laws.

E. End the use of solitary confinement.

F. End the criminalization of the mentally ill.

G. End the increasing practice of incarcerating the elderly.

H. Eliminate the collateral consequences experienced by people convicted of a crime.

In San Juan, Puerto Rico, December 10th, 2012.


The Summit on Human Rights 2012 for the release of Oscar López Rivera and to the memory of Puerto Rican attorney Juan Santiago Nieves, to whom we owe this initiative, is an ambitious effort for the broadest discussion of the current state of human rights in the world. It is conceived in the principle articulated by compañero Oscar that all efforts for his release should be framed in a context that educates for the freedom of the Homeland and to achieve social justice. Meanwhile, it helps denounce the colonial situation of Puerto Rico and highlights the intimate relationship that exists between the case of the Puerto Rican political prisoners and Human Rights.

WHEREAS, Puerto Rico and its inhabitants, without any consultation whatsoever and under military control, were ceded to the United States as war booty via the Treaty of Paris of December 10, 1898.

WHEREAS, the People’s Right to Self-Determination and Independence has been recognized in Resolution 1514(XV) of 1960 of the General Assembly of the United Nations; and as Prevailing Norm of Public International Law in the Consulting Opinions of the International Court of Justice on Western Sahara and Namibia.

WHEREAS, no people should be subject to foreign domination, and colonialism is a crime against humanity; thus the inalienable right of a people to struggle against colonialism in all its forms and manifestations is recognized.

WHEREAS, respect for the physicial and territorial integrity of all peoples strengthens friendly relations among peoples, promoting peace and world security.

WHEREAS, all branches of human rights are equally important and interdependent. It is indispensable that the right of self-determination of all peoples be respected as a requirement for the full exercise of all the other rights, collective as well as individual, in accordance with the Vienna Treaty of 1993.

WHEREAS, the demilitarization and the release of all political prisoners and prisoners of war is demanded as a requirement for the effective exercise of the right of selfdetermination of the Puerto Rican people.

WHEREAS, Oscar López Rivera, 69 years old, has been incarcerated for more than 31 years in United States prisons because of his commitment and struggle for the Independence of Puerto Rico.

WHEREAS, Oscar López Rivera was convicted for the ideological crime of seditious conspiracy and sentenced to 70 years in prison at the beginning of the 1980’s along with 14 other political prisoners.

WHEREAS, Oscar López Rivera was not convicted of killing or harming anyone.

WHEREAS, the imprisonment of Oscar López Rivera constitutes a flagrant violation of human rights.

WHEREAS, while in prison he has also been exposed to more than a decade of total isolation, to multiple aggressions, as well as to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment in violation of the International Charter of Human Rights and the Standard Minimum Rules of the Treatment of Prisoners of the United Nations.

WHEREAS, the political prisoners tried, convicted, and sentenced with Oscar López Rivera were released when President William J. Clinton decided to commute their sentences, after determining that they were disproportionately long and unjust.

WHEREAS, the political prisoners tried, convicted, and sentenced with Oscar López Rivera were released after having spent 16 and 20 years in prison, and have integrated into the life of their communities, living productive and exemplary lives.

WHEREAS, Oscar López Rivera is the Puerto Rican political prisoner who has been held for the longest time in United States prisons in the history of Puerto Rico.

WHEREAS, the decision of the United States Parole Commission last year, denying parole and determining that Oscar López Rivera must serve an additional 15 years before it would consider him for parole again, when he will be 83 years old, constitutes an extraordinary and unbelievable exacerbation of the violation of his human rights.

WHEREAS, the civil society of Puerto Rico, the Puerto Rican community in the United States and leaders of all the political parties, labor unions, religious and cultural institutions demand the immediate release of Oscar López Rivera.

WHEREAS, on the international level as well, his immediate release is demanded by prominent personalities from Latin American, African, Asian and European countries.

WHEREAS, the Decolonization Committee of the United Nations, as well as the Non-Aligned Movement, have passed multiple resolutions calling on the President of the United States to release Oscar López Rivera.

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED: on the 64th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, those who participated in and attended the Summit on Human Rights 2012:

FIRST: demand unconditional respect for the right of self-determination and independence of the People of Puerto Rico by means of the immediate transfer of all sovereign powers;

SECOND: ask the President of the United States Barack Obama to exercise his constitutional power of presidential pardon to order the immediate and unconditional release of Oscar López Rivera.

THIRD: commit to the broad dissemination of the violation of human rights that Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar López Rivera is experiencing and to struggle vigorously for his immediate release.

In San Juan, Puerto Rico, December 10, 2012.