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Center for Constitutional Rights

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Duration: 1966 - current (Africa work known 1970s - 2009s)
Location: New York, New York, United States


The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. CCR was 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. In 1974 CCR worked on the case American Committee on Africa v. The New York Times.  In 1972 the American Committee on Africa (ACOA), African Heritage Studies Association, One Hundred Black Men, Inc. and Judge William H. Booth brought a complaint before the New York City Human Rights Commission contending that The New York Times advertisements for professional job positions in industry and academia were inevitably discriminatory because of the very nature of the legislative policies of apartheid in South Africa. In 1980 CCR was a member of the Ad Hoc Committee to Commemorate the Soweto Uprising that sponsored a demonstration on June 16. In 1987 CCR and ACOA authored a pamphlet related to student anti-apartheid protests on campuses across the United States seeking to get their colleges and universities to divest from companies doing business in South Africa; CCR authored the section on criminal and disciplinary charges.  In the 1990s CCR filed against a series of cases against Royal Dutch Petroleum Company, its Nigerian subsidiary, Shell Petroleum Development Company, and Brian Anderson, the former head of Shell's Nigerian operation. The cases (Wiwa v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, Wiwa v. SPDC, and Wiwa v. Anderson) related to human rights violations including complicity in the torture, killing, and other abuses of Ogoni leader Ken Saro-Wiwa of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) and other non-violent Nigerian activists in the mid-1990s in the Ogoni region of the Niger Delta. (Source: Center for Constitutional Rights material on this website; the CCR website accessed September 10, 2015; material on this website including: City Commission Holds Hearing on New York Times Ads for jobs in South Africa, American Committee on Africa, January 16, 1974; Press Release, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, July 22, 1974; American Committee on Africa Hails Landmark Ruling Baring South African Job Advertisements in New York Times, American Committee on Africa, July 23, 1974; Africa Legal Assistance Project INTERIM REPORT, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, December 1, 1974; and Dealing with University Repression: A Resource for Student Activists by the American Committee on Africa and the Center for Constitutional Rights, American Committee on Africa, 1987.)