CIPA seeks to further the study and public understanding of problems and affairs of the peoples of the United States and other nations of the world through conferences, research, seminars and workshops, publications, and other means. The Council itself was founded in l954 as a nonprofit human rights, education, research and publishing group.
CIPA works to protect and strengthen International Human Rights through grass roots organizing and public education. It also seeks remedies for human rights violations, primarily by exposing the roots of corporate power in the U.S. and worldwide. POCLAD (the Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy), a project of CIPA founded 16 years ago, is in the forefront of this struggle in the U.S. The ICJB (International Coalition for Justice in Bhopal), another project incubated by CIPA, has waged a tri-continental political and legal struggle for the survivors of the world’s worst industrial disaster, against two multi-national corporations between the U.S., India and the UK, for some 24 years.
CIPA co-produced the 2006 People’s Law Tribunal at the World Social Forum in Atlanta, Georgia, the 2004 People’s Law Tribunal at the World Social Forum in Mumbai and the 1999 Seattle/World Trade Organization Global People’s Tribunal on Corporate Crimes Against Humanity, both co-organized by CIPA then executive director, Ward Morehouse. CIPA challenges the international neo-liberal legal anarchy, which allows US-based (and other) multinational corporations to act with impunity and recklessness around the world, through grass roots campaigns and People’s Law Tribunals.
CIPA’s work for the last 20+ years includes challenging the corporate crimes against humanity of Union Carbide and Dow Chemical, the two US-based multinational corporations, in the 1984 chemical spill in Bhopal, India. [This issue is well developed in the 2004 Amnesty International report “Clouds of Injustice” citing Bhopal, India as a case study.] CIPA’s publishing arm, the Apex Press, has published numerous works on the Bhopal case. “The Bhopal Reader,” serves as a guide for activists working on harms perpetrated by corporations. CIPA is the publisher of POCLAD books and works collaboratively with POCLAD, the Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy.
CIPA holds meetings at the annual National Lawyers Guild conventions of its Corporations Committee, sometimes jointly with the NLG Environmental Committee, to propose People’s Law programs to address Ungovernable International Corporation and the Crimes Against Humanity and Environmental Justice that result from that, as established in an Amnesty International Case Study in 2004. *
CIPA helped organize a series of Tribunals around the Charter on Industrial Hazards and Human Rights, a People’s law document, that has been endorsed by worker rights organizations as standards for worker and community protections. [The 1976 Algiers Universal Declaration of the Rights of People's, articulates the rights of "peoples" going beyond the United Nation's focus on the individual to recognizing the rights of "communities" and empowering communities to resist corporate colonization. Most People’s Tribunals have adopted this recognition of communities’ collective rights since its formulation.]