April 29, 2014

Rutzen ’87 Discusses Restrictions of Peaceful Civilian Assemblies

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Douglas Rutzen ’87, president and chief executive officer of the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law, discussed the ways authoritarian regimes restrict peaceful civilian assemblies and associations in Goldwin Smith Hall Tuesday.

Rutzen said most authoritarian regimes do not allow for the formation of any type of peaceful group, whether it is a student association or environmental group.

“Sometimes in Washington we hear that the antidote to authoritarianism is the passage of legislation,” he said. “But as we all know far too well, the law can either be a shield protecting human rights or a sword to undercut them.”

He said Libya under Moammar Gadhafi’s rule is an example of a country with barriers against civil society.

Douglas Rutzen ’87 speaks about civil society in authoritarian countries as part of the Foreign Policy Distinguished Speaker Series in Goldwin Smith Hall Tuesday. (Michelle Feldman / Sun Senior Editor)