Date Headline
5/9/2017 OSPC Summary of Lobbying Activities Period: January 1 – March 31, 2017 (Q1)   OSPC supports transparency and is proud of the causes and groups it supports. OSPC is registered under the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA) and regularly reports on its activities as required by the Act.  However, very few OSPC staff members meet the […]
3/13/2017 OSPC Summary of Lobbying Activities Period: October 1 – December 31, 2016 (Q4)   OSPC supports transparency and is proud of the causes and groups it supports. OSPC is registered under the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA) and regularly reports on its activities as required by the Act.  However, very few OSPC staff members meet the […]
11/1/2016 OSPC Summary of Lobbying Activities Period: July 1 – September 30, 2016 (Q3)   OSPC supports transparency and is proud of the causes and groups it supports. OSPC is registered under the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA) and regularly reports on its activities as required by the Act.  However, very few OSPC staff members meet the […]
10/4/2016 OSPC Summary of Lobbying Activities Period: April 1 – June 30, 2016 (Q2)   OSPC supports transparency and is proud of the causes and groups it supports. OSPC is registered under the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA) and regularly reports on its activities as required by the Act.  However, very few OSPC staff members meet the […]
9/20/2016 OSPC Summary of Lobbying Activities Period: January 1 – March 31, 2016 (Q1)   OSPC supports transparency and is proud of the causes and groups it supports. OSPC is registered under the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA) and regularly reports on its activities as required by the Act. However, very few OSPC staff members meet the […]
6/9/2015 On Tuesday, June 9, 2015, Senators McCain, Feinstein, Reed, and Collins introduced legislation to make the U.S. Army Field Manual on Interrogations the standard for all U.S. government interrogations to make sure that the United States never uses torture again. Seven human rights and civil liberties organizations, including the ACLU, the Center for Victims of Torture, The Constitution Project, […]
8/21/2014 The Open Society Policy Center (OSPC), along with 24 human rights organizations, urged Congress to reject a provision in a spending bill that would all but allow the Department of State to continue U.S. aid to a country where there’s been a coup. The so-called “national security” exemption would all but gut current law, which […]
8/5/2014 Human Rights First makes a strong case for declassifying the executive summary of the long awaited Senate report on the history of CIA torture after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Take a look at and share its ads in the Washington Post. We can’t afford to let the CIA bury the truth or quash the report.
8/5/2014 From 2009 to 2014 the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) conducted a comprehensive oversight review of the CIA’s interrogation and detention program in the years following 9/11. The Senate report on CIA torture shows that the CIA used torture and other brutal interrogation techniques, and misled the executive branch, Congress, and the public about […]
7/15/2014 Washington, D.C.—Stephen Rickard, the executive director of the Open Society Policy Center, testified last Thursday before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa on the importance of the Leahy Law vetting to prohibit the U.S. Government from providing military assistance to security forces abroad who have committed gross human rights violations. The Leahy Law bars […]
6/11/2014 The Open Society Policy Center has joined human rights and civil liberties groups to support Rep. Adam Schiff’s (D-Calif.) legislation requiring the president to provide an annual public report on the total number of persons killed or injured in drone strikes. Human rights and transparency groups will continue to seek additional ways to advance this bill as a […]
4/9/2014 Publish What You Pay (PWYP), the global network campaigning for greater openness in the extractive sector, urged the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Thursday, March 20, to issue a rule on payment disclosures for oil, gas, and mining companies. Members of the PWYP coalition, including the Open Society Policy Center, presented their case for […]
4/8/2014 In this compelling article in the American Prospect, reporter Abby Rapoport takes a look at Mark Osler. He is a former federal prosecutor now advocating for drug sentencing reforms. Nkechi Taifa is a senior policy analyst for civil and criminal justice reform at the Open Society Foundations, is quoted in the story.  
4/3/2014 The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence voted 11 to 3 on Thursday to declassify its report on the CIA’s torture program. The Open Society Policy Center welcomes this development, thanks the Committee for its hard work, and encourages President Obama to expedite its review of the report. “Like locking up Japanese-Americans after Pearl Harbor, torturing […]
4/3/2014 The Open Society Policy Center and more than a dozen other human rights organization praised legislation introduced by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) to require the President to disclose the number of “combatants” and “civilians” killed or injured by drone strikes outside of Afghanistan since 2008 and in future years. The legislation, called the Targeted Lethal […]
4/2/2014 The Open Society Policy Center joined other human rights groups to call on President Obama to sign onto the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty. The Obama Administration has been reviewing the Treaty for the past five years. The Mine Ban Treaty’s Third Review Conference will opens in Maputo, Mozambique on June 23, 2014.
3/25/2014 Eight human rights organizations, including the Open Society Policy Center, encouraged President Obama on Tuesday, March 25, to declassify the Senate Select Intelligence Committee’s report on torture.
3/20/2014 As the U.S. military prepares to exit Afghanistan, its future strategy will be based on a light footprint: Its focus will be to partner with professional, capable military forces to address local security challenges, according to the Pentagon’s just-released Quadrennial Defense Review. This strategy, led by the military’s Combatant Commanders, has evolved over time. It […]
11/13/2013 A review of government reports on previous use of license exemptions shows that Iran, China and Libya exploited these exemptions to obtain U.S. weapons and spare parts. More exemptions increases the risk of unauthorized transfers and that’s why Congress must act to mitigate the increased risk of U.S. arms reaching Iran.
11/13/2013 Supporters of the Obama Administration’s arms export control reform initiative frequently cite economic benefits – namely an increase in exports of U.S. defense products and resulting job creation. But a closer look raises questions about that claim.
11/13/2013 In October 2013, the first batch of the Obama administration’s changes to the U.S. export control regime went into effect. Here are 10 questions that lawmakers and journalists should be asking about those changes.
11/13/2013 Congress’s Carefully Legislated Web of Statutes Being Dismantled by Regulatory Fiat
8/12/2013 In the fifth decade of both the March on Washington and the War on Drugs, the Attorney General has ushered in a revolutionary moment by advancing the policy discussion around unjust drug sentencing laws and unfair incarceration policies.
6/13/2013 The Open Society Policy Center and seven other human rights and government accountability groups sent a letter to Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, asking him to require the Pentagon to provide more public information about assistance the Department of Defense is providing to armed forces around the world. Last […]
12/14/2012 OSPC applauds Senate Select Intelligence Committee bipartisan vote to adopt exhaustive report on CIA interrogation programs
12/13/2012 Christopher Scott testifies on the School to Prison Pipeline and proposes possible reforms.
10/3/2012 Join The Justice Roundtable in celebrating the past 10 years of advocacy with an awards reception honoring legislative and advocacy champions of criminal justice reform.
9/28/2012 The Open Society Policy Center and the Open Society Foundations co-hosts a Congressional Briefing on the past 10 years of Justice Roundtable advocacy and criminal justice reform looking ahead.
9/17/2012 OSPC joins companies, organizations, and individuals to support a legislative amendment to protect sensitive personal and proprietary “cloud” communications.
8/30/2012 On September 11, 2012, the Justice Roundtable will host its quarterly assembly.
7/26/2012 OSPC joins national organizations to thank Senate Armed Services Committee members who voted to open the committee’s markup of the National Defense Authorization Act.
5/9/2012 An executive clemency board is a promising option for addressing old crack cocaine cases not affected by Congress’ Fair Sentencing Act of 2010.
5/8/2012 OSPC and a growing number of national, state, and local civil and human rights organizations renewed their request for Congress to support the End Racial Profiling Act of 2011.
3/15/2012 Diverse organizations urge the Senate Armed Services Committee to conduct annual defense authorization bill business in public.
3/2/2012 On March 28, 2012, the Justice Roundtable will host its quarterly assembly.
3/2/2012 Open Society Foundations’ Conversations on Justice hosts a conversation about the future of criminal justice reform as discussed in the Sentencing Project’s new publication, To Build a Better Criminal Justice System: 25 Experts Envision the Next 25 Years of Reform.
2/15/2012 Various organizations filed an Amicus Brief arguing the Fair Sentencing Act should apply to all sentencing proceedings taking place after the law's enactment as a reflection of Congress’ intent to rectify the unfair and discriminatory 100-1 crack-powder cocaine sentencing disparity.
12/6/2011 The piece originally appeared in the American Constitution Society blog. by  Nkechi Taifa, Esq.   Celebrities have a major impact on causes they embrace. I first witnessed this while working in the Free South Africa movement during the early 1980s, when tennis giant Arthur Ashe and legendary singer Harry Belafonte led a successful cultural boycott of South […]
12/2/2011 The House is threatening to restore the ban on using federal funds for syringe programs at a time when 12% of all new HIV infections in the US occur among injection drug users.
12/1/2011 OSPC and various civil and human rights organizations ask U.S. senators to pass the End Racial Profiling Act and establish a prohibition on racial profiling.
12/1/2011 OSPC and other organizations urged the House of Representatives to reject the Keep Our Communities Safe Act, a bill which raises concerns under U.S. constitutional and international human rights law regarding indefinite detention.
12/1/2011 The National Criminal Justice Commission Act would establish a blue-ribbon commission to take a comprehensive look at the criminal justice system in the U.S. and recommend reforms.
11/22/2011 Ayotte Amendment Overrules Intelligence Professionals and Orders DOD to Create a Secret List of Interrogation Techniques
10/25/2011 CLPI's report highlights the negative impact of the president's Executive Order on Ethics and calls on the Obama Administration to revisit the lobbyist label. The executive order does not distinguish between public interest and private interest lobbyists causing a decline in nonprofit advocacy.
10/3/2011 OPSC Joined various other organizations in calling on the Senate CJS Appropriations Subcommittee to fund proven, cost-saving justice programs that combat overcrowding and reduce recidivism rather than spending scarce federal monies building new prisons.
9/29/2011 U.S. arms sales to Bahrain need to be blocked since the government continues to repress peaceful pro-democracy movements.
9/28/2011 Secretary Clinton is urged to oppose providing aid to Uzbekistan due to their abysmal human rights record.
9/27/2011 More than 70 organizations ask Senator Leahy to protect the Senate Foreign Operations bill from Policy Riders.
9/20/2011 Nkechi Taifa discusses the flaws of the criminal justice system and its reliance on mandatory minimum sentencing.
9/20/2011 Jeff Goldstein discusses the growing importance of the Northern Distribution Network in Uzbekistan and its influence on U.S. security interests.
9/14/2011 The Open Society Policy Center co-hosts a panel discussion on proposed amendments to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the future of global anti-corruption efforts.
8/25/2011 More than 90 organizations, including the Open Society Policy Center, sent a letter to Senator Leahy calling for full funding of global health programs. The bill being considered in the House of Representatives would cut nine percent from the current global health funding levels. Cutting the international affairs account will hurt efforts to prevent HIV, treat tuberculosis and malaria, and prevent maternal deaths.
6/22/2011 30+ groups call on Congress to restore the e-gov fund that helps hold the U.S. government transparent and accountable.
6/11/2011 Nkechi Taifa testifies before the U.S. Sentencing Commission on the importance of applying the Fair Sentencing Act retroactively.
6/2/2011 Nkechi Taifa testifies before the U.S. Sentencing Commission on the importance of applying the Fair Sentencing Act retroactively.
4/8/2011 OSPC calls on Congressional leaders to ensure government accountability by preserving funding levels of transparency programs.
3/1/2011 OSPC called on Senator Leahy to preserve certain foreign aid levels that were recently reduced in the continuing resolution (H.R. 1) passed by the House of Representatives.
2/25/2011 OSPC joined 70 organizations in calling for an end to the needless obstruction of judicial nominees.
12/9/2010 Human rights leaders urge the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary's Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law to continue its important work in the next Congress.
12/2/2010 HR Groups thank U.S. Senator Feingold for his service and dedication on Africa issues.
11/5/2010 The U.S. government should not allow or support the use of child soldiers in countries such as Chad, Sudan, and Yemen, stated a group of NGOs in a letter to President Obama.
10/26/2010 OSPC and over a dozen other donors recently committed their multi-year support for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.
9/16/2010 A broad range of faith-based, human rights, and justice reform organizations praise legislation aimed at improving inhumane foreign prisons.
7/30/2010 The Open Society Policy Center praised Congress for passing "The Fair Sentencing Act" on Wednesday, dramatically reducing the disparity in powder and crack cocaine sentencing from the egregious 100:1 ratio to 18:1.
7/28/2010 A coalition of concerned civil rights groups authored a letter to House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi to urge successful passage of the Fair Sentencing Act 2010.
5/19/2010 A letter to Attorney General Eric Holder signed by thirty-five organizations including OSPC expressed concern over the proposed expansion of the public safety exception to Miranda v. Arizona.
5/18/2010 In a letter to the House Appropriations Committee, thirty organizations including the Open Society Policy Center stressed the importance of fully funding the FY 2010 International Affairs budget.
2/25/2010 OSPC joined a coalition of human rights and civil liberties groups to urge the Senate to defeat legislation that would block the prosecution of the 9/11 cases in federal civilian criminal courts.
1/1/2010 Offering insight and updates on the push toward legislative reform of the crack cocaine sentencing disparity, articles in this edition highlight the upcoming Dec. 2 call-in day, review legislation introduced in the House and Senate, and feature advocacy efforts and support from the Administration and conservatives.
11/13/2009 OSPC joined a coalition of human rights groups in calling on U.S. Senators to vote against an amendment that would have prevented the Department of Justice from prosecuting the alleged perpetrators of the 9-11 attacks in regular federal courts.
10/15/2009 New legislation will eliminate the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine.
8/4/2009 Over fifty organizations, including OSPC, urge the House and Senate Judiciary Committees to swiftly confirm Judge Sonia Sotomayor as a Supreme Court Justice.
7/29/2009 In a coalition letter, OSPC denounces the use of military commissions to try Guantanamo detainees for crimes of terror.
5/21/2009 Nkechi Taifa, senior policy analyst for civil and criminal justice reform, issued written testimony at the House Judiciary Subcommitte on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security's hearing "Unfairness in Federal Cocaine Sentencing: Is it Time to Crack the 100 to 1 Disparity?"
4/15/2009 OSPC recently signed a letter to Congress, along with over 50 non-profit organizations, to support the D.C. Voting Rights Act.
4/14/2009 In support of Dawn Johnsen, nominee for assistant attorney general to the Office of Legal Counsel, OSPC has issued a fact sheet urging her Congressional confirmation.
4/9/2009 Crack the Disparity, a coalition of groups including OSPC that work to end the disparity between crack cocaine and powder cocaine sentences, recently released its quarterly newsletter. Also, April is Crack the Disparity Advocacy Month which will culminate with a congressional lobby day on April 28 in Washington, D.C.
7/9/2008 The Open Society Policy Center opposes today's Senate passage of H.R. 6304, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments Act, because it does not adequately protect the privacy rights of Americans. The bill improperly provides immunity to telecommunications corporations for their prior illegal surveillance activities.
12/22/2007 President Bush signed the Genocide Accountability Act of 2007 into law following its unanimous approval by Congress. The new legislation fills a critical gap in the law by permitting the U.S. government to prosecute people in the United States who are believed to have committed genocide abroad.
12/12/2007 The Open Society Policy Center welcomes the unanimous decision by the U.S. Sentencing Commission making sentencing guideline adjustments for federal crack cocaine cases retroactive.
12/11/2007 The Justice Roundtable Brochure describes the Mission, Priorities and Work of the Group.
12/10/2007 On Friday, December 7, the Open Society Policy Center released a statement on the destruction of videotapes of interrogations by the Central Intelligence Agency.
11/1/2007 November 1, 2007--Four major human rights organizations today called on the Senate to reject the nomination of Judge Michael B. Mukasey to serve as Attorney General.
10/31/2007 Morton H. Halperin, Director of U.S. Advocacy for OSI testifies on FISA before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.
10/23/2007 Human rights and policy organizations said today that unless Judge Michael B. Mukasey clarifies his views on torture and the President's obligation to follow prohibitions on torture he "does not deserve to be the chief law enforcement official of the United States."
10/12/2007 The United Nations Human Rights Council held an emergency special session on the human rights crisis in Burma and has taken swift action. For more information click here.
10/2/2007 On October 2nd, 2007 the Open Society Policy Center, along with other like-minded organizations, issued an open letter to the United States Congress calling for an end to the crack-cocaine sentencing disparity by legislating guidelines consistent with the Sentencing Commission's recommendations.
9/11/2007 Press Release Tuesday, September 11, 2007 For Immediate Release Contact: Open Society Policy Center, Wendy Sefsaf, 202-721-5642 wsefsaf@osi-dc.org In Unusual Step, Human Rights Groups Oppose CIA Nominee (Washington, September 11, 2007) – Human rights groups and advocacy organizations have urged the U.S. Senate to reject the nomination of John Rizzo to serve as General Counsel […]
9/6/2007 Human rights groups and advocacy organizations have urged the U.S. Senate to reject the nomination of John Rizzo to serve as General Counsel of the Central Intelligence Agency because of his stated views on torture. The letter to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and press release can be viewed here.
9/5/2007 Morton H. Halperin, Director of U.S. Advocacy for the Open Society Institute testified before the House Committee on the Judiciary on Wednesday, September 05, 2007 to examine Warrantless Surveillance and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
8/30/2007 Distinguished experts identify pressing foreign policy issues facing the United States and outline alternatives for successful foreign policy that harnesses power in support of a peaceful and prosperous world, in this anthology co-edited by OSPC's Morton Halperin.
7/18/2007 Senior Policy Analyst for Africa Akwe Amosu testified before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommitee on African Affairs, in a hearing entitled "Democratic Developments in Sub-Saharan Africa: Moving Forward or Backwards?"
6/11/2007 OSPC and other human rights organizations send Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice a letter urging strong standards on permissible interrogations.
5/19/2007 REFORMING CRACK & POWDER COCAINE SENTENCING: Making Sense of the USSC Guideline Amendment and Report to Congress May 21, 2007 9:00 am at B340 Rayburn House Office Building 2:00 pm at 485 Russell Senate Office Building REFORMING CRACK & POWDER COCAINE SENTENCING: Making Sense of the USSC Guideline Amendment and Report to Congress featuring Lisa […]
3/30/2007 In March 2007, the House Judiciary Committee passed out the Second Chance Act and in the Senate it was reintroduced by Senators Biden, Specter, Brownback & Leahy.
2/13/2007 The Open Society Policy Center strongly welcomes the "Restoring the Constitution Act of 2007 -- A Bill to Provide for the Effective Prosecution of Terrorists and to Guarantee Due Process Rights."
11/15/2006 Senior Policy Analyst Nkechi Taifa testifies before the U.S. Sentencing Commission on the federal sentencing policy regarding cocaine.
10/18/2006 Morton Halperin, Director of US Advocacy for the Open Society Institute and Director of the Open Society Policy Center, defends the Human Rights Council and reforms at the United Nations.
10/17/2006 President Bush signed the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (MCA) on Tuesday, October 17th. The administration claims that this law provides clear authorization for the CIA to conduct so-called 'enhanced' interrogations. However, Republicans in both Houses said these techniques are "clearly prohibited" by the new law.
10/17/2006 Stephen Rickard, Director of the Washington Office of the Open Society Institute discusses the Military Commissions Act of 2006 and whether the new law authorizes or criminalizes brutal interrogations.
10/15/2006 Please join nationally recognized experts for a telephone conference discussion of whether the new law authorizes or criminalizes brutal interrogations.
9/22/2006 On September 27th, 2006 Congressman Christopher Smith introduced Congressional Resolution 486 urging the government of Turkmenistan to take immediate steps to address serious human rights abuses.
9/6/2006 Open Society Policy Center Executive Director, Morton Halperin, testifies before the House International Relations Committee's Africa, Human Rights and Global Operations Subcommittee regarding the United Nations Human Rights Council.
9/5/2006 An informal and diverse coalition of NGO's have issued a letter to the United States Senate strongly opposing the nomination of John Bolton to serve as Ambassador to the United Nations. Nineteen like-minded organizations, including the Open Society Policy Center, have joined the letter.
7/20/2006 A broad left-right group of organizations consisting of various human rights and faith-based organizations and leaders of the Korean-American community issued an 18-point Statement of Principles in a press conference at the National Press Club Thursday, July 20, 2006.
7/18/2006 In a press conference at the National Press Club on Thursday, July 20, 2006 at noon a broad left-right group of organizations consisting of various human rights and faith-based organizations and leaders of the Korean-American community will issue an introductory statement and an 18-point Statement of Principles.
7/11/2006 The Open Society Policy Center has signed on to a letter opposing the nomination of William Haynes to the 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.
6/29/2006 The Open Society Institute is commending Millennium Challenge Corporation's (MCC) recent decision to suspend the Gambia's eligibility for Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) assistance.
6/15/2006 The Open Society Policy Center recently joined a United Nations Foundation campaign urging world leaders to resolve a budget crisis that threatens to shut down the UN.
6/8/2006 On June 8th, 2006 Morton H. Halperin, Director of U.S. Advocacy for the Open Society Institute, and Executive Director of the Open Society Policy Center, testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the role of NGO's in democracy promotion.
6/8/2006 On June 8th, the Open Society Policy Center joined 41 organizations in calling on Secretary Rice to use the United States' full diplomatic force to promote UN reform, rather than rely on unilateral approaches that could have devastating consequences for the future effectiveness of the United Nations and to U.S. interests.
6/5/2006 On June 4th, 2006 ABC's World News Tonight aired a piece entitled "Senator Gets Lessons at Jail" where Senator Brownback discussed the Second Chance Act.
5/17/2006 Nkechi Taifa, Sr. Policy Analyst for the Open Society Policy Center, examines that failure of U.S. law to address the disparity between crack and powder cocaine. In her paper, she explores ways that principles from the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination could form a basis for relief.
5/10/2006 On May 9th, 2006, the Open Society Policy Center, and its partner organizations, commemorated the one year anniversary of the massacre at Andijon with a half-day conference.
5/9/2006 On May 9, 2006, the UN General Assembly elected a greatly improved membership to the newly established Human Rights Council. The results show that Member States have for the first time taken into consideration the human rights records of governments when electing members to the body.
5/7/2006 The Open Society Policy Center, and its partner organizations, will commemorate the one year anniversary of the massacre at Andijon with a half-day conference. It will feature two panels and a brief screening of a BBC documentary film.
3/28/2006 On March 28th, 2006 Open Society Policy Center Executive Director, Morton Halperin, testified before the United States Senate Judiciary Committee.
3/15/2006 On March 15, 2006 the UN General Assembly voted to replace the discredited Commission on Human Rights with a reformed Human Rights Council.
3/14/2006 The U.S. Sentencing Commission issued a comprehensive report today on the state of federal sentencing since last year's Supreme Court decision in U.S. v. Booker, entitled "Report on the Impact of United States v. Booker on Federal Sentencing."
3/7/2006 The Open Society Policy Center is supporting efforts to replace the UN's existing Commission on Human Rights with a more effective and legitimate Human Rights Council. Secretary-General Kofi Annan called for this reform in his March 2004 "In Larger Freedom" report. The U.S. Administration, Congressional leaders and the U.S. Institute of Peace Task Force on the UN have endorsed the establishment of a reformed Human Rights Council where countries address egregious human rights abuses and promote the highest standards in human rights.
3/3/2006 On March 3rd, 2006, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights heard arguments against the use of mandatory minimum sentences in the United States. The panel of witnesses, moderated by Nkechi Taifa, Sr. Policy Analyst for the Open Society Policy Center, presented compelling arguments on why the use of mandatory minimum sentences is racially discriminatory and inhumane.
2/16/2006 The Open Society Policy Center has joined other Justice Roundtable members in an open letter to the United States Congress requesting an equalization of the penalty structure between crack and powder cocaine.
2/9/2006 Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights will hold a hearing on the issue of mandatory minimum sentencing on March 3, 2006. Spurred by a petition from the Justice Roundtable and a supporting letter from the American Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section, the commission will review findings that show mandatory minimums are applied […]
1/31/2006 The Open Society Policy Center has joined a number of other organizations in voicing concern about the NSA's alleged electronic surveillance of U.S. citizens.
1/20/2006 Nkechi Taifa, Senior Policy Analyst for the Open Society Institute and the Open Society Policy Center, recently commented on the disparity in sentencing for crack cocaine related offences in the Washington Afro American.
1/13/2006 The Second Chance Act is an important first step in addressing the reentry crisis. It aims to reduce recidivism, increase public safety, and help states and communities to better address the growing population of people returning to communities from prisons and jails.
1/13/2006 On December 20th 2005, the Justice Roundtable, a broad based, informal coalition, issued a letter to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The letter requests a hearing to examine the issue of the discriminatory impact of mandatory minimum sentencing in the federal criminal system.
1/6/2006 On January 6th, 2006, Morton H. Halperin, Director of U.S. Advocacy at the Open Society Institute and Executive Director of the Open Society Policy Center, released a memo addressing the legal issues surrounding the Bush Administration's warrantless NSA surveillance.
12/16/2005 The Open Society Policy Center has authored a brief on what is banned and illegal behavior under the McCain Anti-Torture Amendment. The McCain Amendment, which has been endorsed by The White House, makes the U.S. Army Field Manual binding authority for all DOD interrogations and bans "cruel and unusual" conduct under the 5th, 8th and 14th Amendment in all interrogations conducted by the US anywhere in the world.
12/16/2005 The National Institute of Military Justice, Association of the Bar of New York City, Center for American Progress, Human Rights First, American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International USA, Human Rights Watch, Physicians for Human Rights and the Open Society Policy Center laud the McCain Anti-Torture Amendment.
12/14/2005 On December 8, 2005 , the Open Society Policy Center joined over 20 diverse and prominent NGOs in a letter urging Secretary Rice to reconsider U.S. priorities and negotiating tactics that could derail UN reform efforts, including the establishment of a Human Rights Council.
10/21/2005 Nkechi Taifa looks back at crack policy on the anniversary of The Million Man March in The Black Commentator.
10/4/2005 National Law Journal explores the Crack Cocaine Disparity with Nkechi Taifa.
9/23/2005 2006 marks the 20th anniversary of the adoption of mandatory minimum sentences for crack cocaine possession that are far in excess of penalties for powder cocaine. Some experts believe this has been the single most important factor accounting for the fact that, on average, African Americans receive much longer sentences when convicted than others. OSPC has launched a targeted campaign to mend this "crack" in the justice system.
9/22/2005 OSPC continues to advocate for The Second Chance Act, H.R. 1704, and the recently introduced Senate Bill S. 1934. Both enjoy strong bi-partisan support and are expected to pass in early 2006.
9/18/2005 The United States can be counted among the handful of "spoiler states" that undermined the ambitious agenda of the UN World Summit held in New York September 14-16, 2005 .
9/10/2005 On September 9, 2005, OSPC joined over 40 diverse organizations in a sign-on letter that urged President Bush to attend and engage constructively in the UN World Summit.
8/1/2005 On May 13, 2005, Government of Uzbekistan security forces massacred hundreds of civilians during an indiscriminate attack on demonstrators in the city of Andijan. Despite worldwide condemnation and strong words from the US Administration, few concrete actions have been taken in response to what independent human rights observers have classified a tragedy on the scale of the 1989 slaughter in Tiananmen Square, China.
7/11/2005 Racial Disparities in the Criminal Justice System: Tulia, Texas, the Drug War and Beyond A guest talk by Nkechi Taifa Wednesday, July 13th, 6:30 to 8 PM UDC David A. Clarke School of Law Building 39, Room 208 4200 Connecticut Ave., NW Washington, D.C. Nkechi Taifa, Sr. Policy Analyst at the Open Society Institute and […]
6/12/2005 The Public Safety, Sentencing and Incarceration Reform Caucus of the U.S. House of Representatives is hosting a luncheon briefing on the effect of current sentencing laws on women and children. A distinguished panel with offer personal stories and policy recommendations. Lunch will be provided.
6/7/2005 The Watching Justice Distinguished Speakers Series presents the release of a new report and recommendations with a panel discussion with Bert Brandenburg, Former Director of DOJ's Office of Public Affairs, and other experts.
5/25/2005 On May 25, 2005 Representative Sheila Jackson Lee introduced the "No More Tulias: Drug Law Enforcement Evidentiary Standards Improvement Act of 2005." Fifty national organizations have signed a letter to the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee stating their support of this legislation as well as calling for a prompt hearing.
5/23/2005 The afternoon will feature an introduction of the "No More Tulias: Drug Law Enforcement Evidentiary Standards Improvement Act of 2005" by Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, a showing of "Hearne, Texas: Scenes from the Drug War," narrated by Julian Bond, and the 60 Minutes segment on Tulia, Texas. Discussion, questions & answers will follow.
5/17/2005 Senator Leahy's office organized a Washington DC memorial service for Marla Ruzicka, on Saturday May 14, 2005. Ms. Ruzicka, 28, was an OSI grantee who devoted her life to documenting the needs of innocent war victims and facilitating aid. She was killed by a car bomb in Baghdad on April 16, 2005.
4/25/2005 OSPC is watching the nomination of John Bolton to be US Ambassador to the UN. John Bolton is the wrong man for the job. Based on his history of derision for the United Nations and his poor performance as Undersecretary, Bolton lacks the skills and credibility necessary to address such key issues as North Korea's and Iran's nuclear programs, global poverty, and making the UN more effective.
4/3/2005 President Bush has proposed the elimination of Byrne Grants in this year's budget. While several groups across the ideological spectrum find some merit in this proposal, others have argued that eliminating the program is like "throwing the baby out with the bath water." This April 5th panel discussion will cover the full range of thought on reform initiatives, comprised of representatives from a wide array of groups.
4/1/2005 The Open Society Policy Center, former U.S. Ambassadors and other groups will hold a press conference on Monday, April 4 to announce their opposition to John Bolton's nomination as Ambassador to the UN. The event will be 9:30-11:00am at the National Press Club in Washington, DC
3/31/2005 On March 29, 2005 a group of almost 60 retired diplomats sent a letter to Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar to announce their concern about John Bolton's nomination to be Ambassador to the UN.
3/30/2005 On March 30, 2005, Newsday (New York) ran an op-ed authored by Maura Moynihan, daughther of Senator Moynihan. In it, she makes the case that Bolton is no Moynihan, despite the chorus of conservative voices claiming otherwise.
2/8/2005 OSPC Executive Director Mort Halperin will be speaking and signing books at an event hosted by the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations.
2/3/2005 OSPC is one of 24 organizations to send a letter to Senators expressing concern about the troubling record of Michael Chertoff, nominee for Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.
2/1/2005 OSPC is one of 31international and Afghan civil society organizations to send a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice commending the Bush administration for turning its attention and resources to addressing the drug trade problem in Afghanistan and warning that massive eradication efforts in 2005 could destabilize large areas of the country and undermine the remarkable progress Afghanistan has made since 2001.
1/12/2005 The Open Society Policy Center endorses a letter sent by 50 organizations to Congress encouraging them to take deliberative action on sentencing reform.
1/4/2005 OSPC is one of many diverse organizations that issued a statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee asking the committee to vote against confirming Alberto Gonzales if he does not assure the American people of his commitment to the rule of law during his confirmation hearings.
1/1/2005 Coauthored by OSPC's Morton H. Halperin and featuring a foreword by George Soros, The Democracy Advantage: How Democracies Promote Prosperity and Peace makes the case for the superiority of democratic development.
11/20/2004 The Open Society Policy Center strongly encourages members of the Senate to examine Dr. Rice's record and question her positions and actions on foreign policy.
11/20/2004 The Open Society Policy Center strongly encourages a careful examination of Mr. Gonzales's record.
10/27/2004 Mark Danner has written a brilliant account of how the Abu Ghraib scandal came about – based in part on never before published documents – and the challenges that it continues to raise.
10/1/2004 Post-Conflict Challenges and Opportunities (2004) is a newly issued report that considers in-depth the impact of the U.S. and U.K.'s 13-month occupation of Iraq and its legacy for the Iraqi people.
6/23/2004 The full text of the Second Chance Act, as introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in June 2004.
6/16/2004 The full text of the Civil Liberties Restoration Act, as introduced in the Senate in June 2004.
3/1/2004 The Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) initiative is an important proposal that has the potential to (i) ensure that development assistance is directed to those who will use it more effectively, and (ii) create a "race to the top" by giving countries an incentive to improve their economic management and governance.
2/26/2004 The full text of the End Racial Profiling Act (HR 3847 and S. 2132) as introduced in the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate during 2004.
2/1/2004 In his 2003 State of the Union Address, President Bush pledged $15 billion over five years to fight the HIV/AIDS pandemic. A significant portion of this funding will go to an initiative known as the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which will prioritize efforts in 14 highly affected African and Caribbean countries. The […]
5/20/2003 Reconstructing Iraq: A Guide to the Issues (2003) is a report designed to help interested parties understand and evaluate reconstruction activities in Iraq.
1/1/2003 This white paper modestly reconfigures the Administration's proposed rules for MCA funding eligibility to elevate the significance of country democratic behavior.
9/5/2002 The Open Society Policy Center convenes the Justice Roundtable, a diverse coalition of more than 100 organizations working to reform federal criminal justice laws and policies. The Roundtable serves as a hub for coordinating the federal legislative and advocacy efforts of the Washington criminal justice advocacy community. In its first decade, the Roundtable was instrumental in […]