Posted by: claerwenohara | February 7, 2014

A successful month for CCR

Everyone has been very busy here at the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) over the past month. And we are certainly seeing the results of all our hard work! Yesterday, the U.N. Committee for the Rights of the Child released its concluding observations on the Holy See. As I have described in my previous posts, CRR and the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), submitted a joint report to the Committee on the Holy See’s compliance with its obligations under the Convention and was in attendance at the hearing in Geneva. Our submission, upon which I worked, dealt with the role of the Vatican in the now widely reported child sexual abuse in Catholic-run institutions throughout the world.

In its concluding statements, the Committee found that, “the Holy See has consistently placed the preservation of the reputation of the Church and the protection of the perpetrators above children’s best interests, as observed by several national commissions of inquiry.” It also expressed that it is “gravely concerned that the Holy See has not acknowledged the extent of the crimes committed, has not taken the necessary measures to address cases of child sexual abuse and to protect children, and has adopted policies and practices which have led to the continuation of the abuse by and the impunity of the perpetrators.” This was an excellent result as it shows that the international community is finally holding the Vatican accountable for its role in enabling and perpetuating sexual violence in the Church.

Members of my team at CCR protesting outside St Pattrick’s Cathedral NYC on the morning that the Holy See submitted its response to the Committee for the Rights of the Child

The CCR has also enjoyed success recently in its ‘stop-and-frisk’ case. On January 30, after 14 years of litigation and decades of community action, plaintiffs’ counsel and Mayor Bill de Blasio reached an agreement which will result in the withdrawal of the City’s appeal of the landmark case, Floyd v. City of New York, brought by CCR. The Floyd case was a federal class action lawsuit seeking injunctive relief for a decade-long pattern of discriminatory and unconstitutional stops-and-frisks. Stop-and-Frisk is the practice of the New York City Police Department by which police officers stop and question hundreds of thousands of pedestrians annually, and frisk them for weapons and other contraband. This practice has unfortunately seen a disproportionate amount of racial profiling, which was the crux of the allegations in the Floyd case. The District Court in that case found New York City to be liable and this decision will no longer be appealed by the city, heralding a new era in policing practices.

Outside of work, my love affair with this city grows daily. I have been going for long walks along the Brooklyn Bridge and sledding in Central Park! More than anywhere I have ever been, New York City feels like the centre of the universe; a magical playground with everything from grungy pubs in alley ways to the most expensive cocktail bars in the world. Anything you can possibly think of is possible in this city!

Snow-covered street in Greepoint, Brookyn.

Moments before a beautiful sunset on the Brooklyn Bridge.

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