Freedom from racism, discrimination and hate
Freedom to peacefully protest and dissent
Freedom from police violence and gun violence
Freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention
Freedom of the press to report the truth
Freedom from intimidation and guns at the polls
We’ve been defending freedom from dictators and bullies around the world for six decades—and we’re not about to stop now. Join Amnesty International USA’s Defend Freedom Campaign to demand that all levels of the U.S. government—including President Trump and his administration, Congress, governors, mayors, state legislators, city councils and law enforcement officers—respect, protect and fulfill human rights.
✊🏿 We demand to be free from racism.
✊🏾 We demand the right to be able to protest.
✊🏽 We demand freedom of the press.
✊🏼 We demand freedom from police violence.
✊🏻 We demand freedom from gun violence.
Will you join these youth activists?
— Amnesty International USA (@amnestyusa) October 27, 2020
Losing the peace: U.S. police failures to protect protesters from violence
Coalition letters to Mayors and Governors on Right to Peaceful Assembly
Tear Gas: How it is abused & why you should care
Guidance for Law Enforcement
Use of Force: Policing in the United States
The World is Watching: Mass violations by U.S. police of Black Lives Matter protesters’ rights
Reports & Resources
- Report: Mapping police violence
- Letter to Congress:“Why We Can’t Wait” for Congress to pass HR. 40
- Report: Deadly Force: Police Use of Lethal Force in the United States
- Report: On the Streets of America: Human Rights Abuses in Ferguson
- Guidance: Best Practices for Law Enforcement Policing Demonstrations
- Article: What is police brutality?
- Letter to Congress: Federal Policing Priorities
- Letter to Congress: PEACE Act Coalition Letter
- Statement: Amnesty International USA Statement to Maryland Senate, Judicial Proceedings Committee: Bill Hearing on Police Accountability and Law Enforcement Reform, Use of Force
- Letter: Letter to Philadelphia Commissioner and District Attorney re Killing of Walter Wallace, Jr. and Facilitating Peaceful Assembly
- Letter: Letter to Alamance County Sheriff re the Policing of Protests
Human Rights Framework
THE RIGHT TO STAY ALIVE
The right to stay alive—to not be killed—is fundamental. It is the right that makes all of your other human rights possible.
It is the utmost obligation of police to respect and preserve the right to stay alive. Lethal use of firearms may only be justified when it’s “strictly unavoidable in order to protect human life.”
THE RIGHT TO SECURITY
You have the right to a reasonable expectation of safety.
You should not have to fear for your life when interacting with police—and we need robust laws that create an environment of accountability to make that possible.
FREEDOM FROM DISCRIMINATION
“At times, the police exercise higher levels of violence against certain groups of people, based on institutional racism or ethnic discrimination.”
– United Nations officials
You should not be treated differently by law enforcement because of the color of your skin. You have the right to equal treatment under the law—and that includes not having lethal force used against you.
THE RIGHT TO FREE EXPRESSION AND ASSEMBLY
Deadly force should only be used as a last resort, and yet there are currently nine states that permit the use of lethal force in order to “suppress a riot”.
Law enforcement’s role should be to facilitate peaceful protests, not to escalate tensions with the demonstration or exercise of force.
If some protestors engage in violent actions, this does not turn the otherwise peaceful protest into a non-peaceful assembly. In such a situation, police should not use the violent acts of a few to restrict the rights of a majority.