AUGUSTA, GA (PR) - Ajamu Baraka just returned from Palestine as a member of the “African Heritage” delegation which spent two weeks in Palestine between October 27 and early November. Mr. Baraka shared his observations and experiences, including the attack on the delegation by the Israeli army in the village of Bil`in, during his presentation “Peoples in Resistance from Ferguson to Palestine: A Report Back.”
A human rights defender whose experience spans three decades of domestic and international education and activism, Ajamu Baraka is a veteran grassroots organizer whose roots are in the Black Liberation Movement and anti-apartheid and Central American solidarity struggles.
Baraka is an internationally recognized leader of the emerging human rights movement in the U.S. and has been at the forefront of efforts to apply the international human rights framework to social justice advocacy in the U.S. for more than 25 years.
Baraka played an important role in bringing a human rights perspective to the preparatory meetings for the World Conference on Racism (WCAR) that took place in Geneva and in Santiago, Chile as part of the Latin American Preparatory process, as well as the actual conference that he attended as a delegate in Durban, South Africa in 2001.
Ajamu Baraka was the Founding Executive Director of the US Human Rights Network (USHRN) from July 2004 until June 2011. The USHRN was the first domestic human rights formation in the United States explicitly committed to the application of international human rights standards to the U.S. During Baraka’s tenure, the Network initiated the Katrina Campaign on Internal Displacement, after Baraka was the first to formally identify the victims of Hurricane Katrina as internally displaced people (IDPs).
Also while at the Network, Baraka ensured that the Network spearheaded efforts to raise human rights abuses taking place in the U.S. with United Nations human rights processes and structures, including the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the UN Human Rights Committee and the UN Human Rights Council, through its Universal Periodic Review process. By coordinating the production of non-governmental reports on human rights and organizing activist delegations to UN sites in Geneva and New York, the Network gave voice to victims of human rights abuses and provided opportunities for activists to engage in direct advocacy. These efforts resulted in specific criticisms of the U.S. human rights record and recommendations for corrective actions.
Prior to leading the USHRN, Baraka served in various leadership capacities with Amnesty International USA (AIUSA). As AIUSA’s Southern Regional Director, he played a key role in developing the organization’s 1998 campaign to expose human rights violations in the U.S.
Baraka has taught political science at various universities and has been a guest lecturer at academic
institutions in the U.S. and abroad. A commentator on a number of criminal justice and international
human rights issues, Baraka has appeared on and been covered in a wide-range of print, broadcast, and digital media outlets such as CNN, BBC, the Tavis Smiley Show, Telemundo, ABC’s World News Tonight, Black Commentator, the Washington Post and the New York Times. He is also a contributing writer for various publications including Black Commentator, Commondreams, Pambazaka, and Dissident Voice.
Baraka has taught political science at various universities and has been a guest lecturer at academic institutions in the U.S. and abroad. He is currently an Associate Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) in Washington, D.C. and editor and contributing columnist for the Black Agenda Report.
Sponsors of the event included the Interfaith Peace Builders, Atlanta Public Sector Alliance, Moving the Center, WRFG 89.3 FM Atlanta, Black Agenda Report, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, the Georgia Green Party and the CSRA Peace Alliance in conjunction with The John Henrik Clarke Society.