Click the link below to read our 2017 Summer Newsletter!RCF Summer 2017 Newsletter.pdf (32 downloads)
15,000 Pages of Documents Previously Obtained by CCR Show U.S. Blocking Efforts at Accountability
May 30, 2017, San Francisco – the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) filed a “friend of the court” brief to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in a case brought by the parents of an American teenager killed by Israeli commandos. Eighteen-year-old human rights defender Furkan Doğan was shot five times, including in the face at point-blank range, when Israeli soldiers raided the Mavi Marmara in international waters in 2010. The ship was part of a six-boat flotilla that attempted to break the siege of Gaza and deliver humanitarian aid to Palestinians suffering under Israel’s closure of the Gaza Strip. In the lawsuit, Doğan’s parents are seeking accountability for the extrajudicial killing and torture of their son.
“The first responsibility of our government is to protect its citizens,” said Craig Corrie of the Rachel Corrie Foundation. “It is outrageous that our government chooses instead to protect a foreign government when it kills our citizens. It is outrageous foreign policy, domestic policy, and outrageous as a matter of law.”
Attorneys say international and U.S. law clearly provide accountability and redress for extrajudicial killing and torture by former foreign government officials. The lawsuit was filed under the Alien Tort Statute and the Torture Victim Protection Act. A district court dismissed the case after the U.S. government submitted a “suggestion of immunity” for the defendant in the case, former Israeli Minister of Defense Ehud Barak, following a request to the State Department by the Israeli government.
“This case is yet another example of the U.S. government’s readiness to disregard its human rights obligations in order to protect Israel instead of protecting its own citizens,” said Center for Constitutional Rights Senior Staff Attorney Katherine Gallagher. “Immunity for extrajudicial killing flies in the face of U.S. obligations to punish serious human rights violations and provide victims a remedy.”
Through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) litigation, CCR obtained more than 15,000 pages of documents demonstrating that the United States declined to conduct an independent investigation into Furkan Doğan’s death and undercut efforts at the international level for Israel to be held accountable.
CCR submitted the amicus brief with the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice, which was founded by the family of 23-year-old U.S. human rights defender Rachel Corrie, who was killed by an Israeli bulldozer while blocking the demolition of a Palestinian home in Gaza. CCR previously represented the Corrie family and four Palestinian families in a lawsuit against Caterpillar, Inc., which supplied the Israel Defense Forces with the bulldozers.
Read the amicus brief filed here or download: RCF and CCR Urge Denial of Immunity for Former Israeli Official in Case of U.S. Human Rights Defender Killed During 2010 Flotilla Attack (0 downloads)
Contact: Jen Nessel, CCR, (212) 614-6449, [email protected]
The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change. Visit www.ccrjustice.org and follow @theCCR.
The Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice continues the work of human rights activist and observer Rachel Corrie. The 501(c)3 nonprofit conducts and supports programs that foster connections between peoples, that build understanding, respect, and appreciation for differences, and that promote cooperation within and between local and global communities. Through grassroots efforts, the foundation fosters the pursuit of human rights and social, economic, and environmental justice, as pre-requisites for world peace.
The Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice is excited to announce that after nearly 15 years of work in Olympia, Gaza and around the world, we are looking for our first full-time Executive Director.
Over the past decade and a half, the Foundation has been led by Cindy and Craig Corrie whose roles have changed and expanded over the years. While the Corries will continue to play a crucial role as founders and visionaries, this moment marks a significant growth of the organization’s capacity to fulfill its mission of continuing the work that Rachel Corrie began. Cindy and Craig Corrie look forward to continuing their volunteer work with the foundation but also to spending more days with their children and grandchildren, traveling, and serving all of their communities in new and creative ways.
Please find the job announcement below in the Executive Director Packet along with the Application for Employment. For questions about the position, reach us at [email protected]
Monday, May 15, 2017, marks the 69th commemoration of the Palestinian Nakba (catastrophe) of 1948. The date commemorates the the period between 1947-1949 when Palestinian villages were destroyed and more than 750,000 Palestinians were forcibly displaced and transferred by Zionist armed forces. Israeli historians like Benny Morris refer to this event that was the foundation for the Israeli state as “necessary,” stating that “There was no choice but to expel that population.” Other Israeli historians like Ilan Pappe refute this necessity and call it an intentional plan of “ethnic cleansing” and “apartheid.” ***
The Israeli state has never taken responsibility for this foundational illegal and ethically outrageous act. Today, 6.6 million Palestinian refugees and their descendants are denied their Right of Return, a fundamental principle of international human rights and humanitarian law. Furthermore, the Nakba did not end 69 years ago, but continued in episodic waves. Israeli practices during the 1967 War produced the forcible displacement of 130,000 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Today, the displacement of Palestinians operates through consistent attacks and pressures targeting communities like Palestinian citizens of Israel in the Naqab (Negev) and Palestinian residents of the West Bank. The precarious position of Palestinian refugees throughout the Middle East puts them at greater risk for multiple displacement in countries like Syria.
Today, Nakba Day, is also the 29th day of a mass hunger strike waged by more than 1,000 Palestinian political prisoners held in Israeli jails. The hunger strikers are facing serious health conditions. Their strike demands basic human rights and decent treatment in Israeli jails. They also demand end to the illegal policy and practice of administrative detention through which Palestinian prisoners are held indefinitely in captivity without charge or trial. Israel has imprisoned an estimated one million Palestinians since 1948.
Return is the Foundation for Peace and Justice
No matter their location, Palestinians face pressures of discrimination, expulsion and violence by the Israeli state. The majority of Palestinians are themselves displaced or are descendants of displaced persons. Thus, on the 69th Nakba Day, we continue to affirm in the strongest manner possible the legal, moral and political necessity of implementing the Right of Return according to UNGA 194 for every Palestinian refugee and without stipulation. The status quo has further entrenched the ongoing Nakba and the violation of all people in Palestine. The international community’s deep entanglement in creating and maintaining this status quo is especially notable in 2017, when we will also mark the 100-year-anniversary of the 1917 Balfour Declaration and the 50-year-anniversary of the 1967 Occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Ending ongoing displacement and implementing the right of return are the building blocks to addressing the daily and structural inequalities that exist and achieving justice.
Nakba Day Roundup
“Return is Possible” infographic by Visualizing Palestine
“The Nakba in the Words of Palestinians” on Palestine Square blog by the Institute for Palestine Studies
“Palestinians take to the streets for Nakba Day” on Al Jazeera English
“Nakba Day attests to the power of our grandparents stories” by Amjad Iraqi on +972
“When I Failed to Say Farewell to You…” by Ibtisam Azem on Jadaliyya
“Focus On: Palestinian Refugees” on Al-Shabaka
“BDS: Upholding our Rights, Resisting the Ongoing Nakba” by the Palestinian Boycott National Committee
“Thousands of Palestinians commemorate Nakba Day in West Bank, Gaza” on Ma’an News Agency