CWRU students and faculty file submission to UN related to excessive force by U.S. police

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) logo

On March 30, 2021, the Institute for Global Security Law and Policy, together with Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), submitted a letter to United Nations experts concerning attacks by federal and local police on medics during the racial justice and anti-police brutality protests over the summer of 2020 across the United States.

Over the summer and fall, law students Timothy Anderson, Lauryn Durham, Linnea Gottlander, and Alexander Peters worked as interns under the supervision of Professor Avidan Y. Cover, researching the right to health and the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association and how actions by law enforcement impinged on these rights.

Utilizing mechanisms known as UN Special Procedures, the students filed a joint submission with PHR, to the Special Rapporteurs on Health and Peaceful Assembly and Association. The extensive submission documents how law enforcement both targeted and indiscriminately attacked medics with mace, pepper balls, flash grenades, tear gas, rubber bullets, and bean bag rounds, and also by physically pushing, grabbing and shoving individuals. These actions, the submission contends, violate international treaties to which the United States is either a party or a signatory, and for which the U.S must be held accountable.

Any Special Rapporteurs communications with governments and their responses if any, will remain confidential until published in the Communications Report to the Human Rights Council.