The NYCLU is one of the nation’s foremost defenders of civil liberties and civil rights. Founded in 1951 as the New York affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union, it is a not-for-profit, nonpartisan organization with eight chapters and regional offices and nearly 50,000 members across the state. Its mission is to defend and promote the fundamental principles and values embodied in the Bill of Rights, the U.S. Constitution, and the New York Constitution. Among the most fundamental principles are those protecting human dignity and the rule of law.
Liberty and Security
Throughout U.S. history, “national security” has often been used as a pretext for massive violations of individual rights. In the past decade, the fight against terrorism has served as the pretext for serious attacks on civil liberties in New York State and nationwide. In response, the NYCLU has mounted challenges – both in New York and, in partnership with the ACLU, nationally – to abuses of power including the USA Patriot Act, domestic wiretapping, invasive and unconstitutional border stops, and other abuses. Please explore this page to learn more about the NYCLU’s work to keep New Yorkers both safe and free.
The United States once was a global leader in the fight against torture, drafting and signing international treaties that banned inhumane treatment of prisoners. Sadly, the Bush administration disgraced this proud tradition by embracing torture and other harsh measures. While President Obama has banned torture and closed the CIA’s “black site” prisons, he must do more to follow through on his rhetoric and restore America’s position as a champion of human rights.
The ACLU’s Anti-Torture Campaign
Government documents show that, under the Bush administration, hundreds of prisoners were tortured in U.S. custody – some even killed – in the course of interrogation. Justice Department memos reveal that the torture policies were developed at the highest levels of government. These abuses can’t be swept under the rug. The ACLU is committed to restoring the rule of law because accountability for torture is a legal, political, and moral imperative.