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The War of Ideas in the Middle East

CalPERS Investment Committee Meeting
May 13, 2013, Sacramento

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Susan Scott – National Lawyers Guild – PERS Member

My name is Susan Scott from the National Lawyers Guild. And from the Bringing Human Rights Home Lawyers Network. I'm a retiree from California. I worked for 22 years as an attorney for two different State agencies. And when I retired in 2002 with my wonderful PERS pension, which I extremely appreciate and the health plan, I began working with the National Lawyers Guild International Committee and the Bringing Human Rights Home Lawyers Network, which is a group of hundreds of human rights lawyers from ACLU, CCR, all different organizations all over the country working to try to bring the concepts of the international human rights framework to the United States.

And we've really worked hard on that, and there has been a lot of progress, but, of course, it's a difficult thing because Americans don't really like to recognize international law. But our mission has been to bring this work into the federal, State, and local governments and institutions, and this -- from prison conditions in Guantanamo and Pelican Bay to the criminalization of homelessness to government pension investment policies.

And I've come to see clearly that if the international human rights framework is to have any currency in the United States, it will have to be bodies like PERS that make it happen. In 2006, a new and promising UN mechanism called the Universal Periodic Review, or UPR, was developed by the new UN Human Rights Council to ensure that the human rights records of all 193 countries member states of the UN would be reviewed by the rest of the world, both NGOs and governments every four years.


MS. SCOTT: Can I just say, I know you can't cutoff military aid to Israel, but what you can do is take a stand and help PERS members, like me – [Chair interrupts] -- take a stand and keep our wages from going – [Chair interrupts] -- to the very corporations that profit from –


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