November 9, 2023
First human rights suit to protect the Right to Live Free from Gunfire
(WASHINGTON) Manny and Patricia Oliver, whose 17-year old son, Joaquin, was killed in the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, today filed a first-of-its-kind human rights lawsuit against the U.S. government. The unprecedented action seeks a ruling that U.S. gun policy violates human rights law, and deprived the Olivers’ son of his right to life.
Joaquin Oliver v. USA was filed in the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, an independent legal body of the Organization of American States. The Olivers are represented by longtime gun violence prevention lawyer Jonathan Lowy, president of Global Action on Gun Violence (GAGV), and Arturo Carrillo, director of the George Washington University Law School’s Civil and Human Rights Clinic.
Father of Joaquin, Manny Oliver, says, “We’ve tried everything else to rein in gun violence, but there hasn’t been meaningful change. Joaquin had a right to live, which means that Joaquin had a right to fall in love, to have his heart broken, and to find his life partner – or not. All this was taken from him as a result of the United States allowing a deeply troubled 19-year-old to buy a military-style assault rifle, with which he could easily commit a massacre.”
According to the Olivers’ co-counsel, GAGV President Jonathan Lowy, “We are filing this lawsuit to force the United States to meet its obligations under human rights law, protect people’s right to live, and stop prioritizing gun industry profits over human rights. The U.S. is causing a global crisis that will not be resolved until the government recognizes its obligations to take common-sense actions that protect people from gun violence.”
The lawsuit argues that Inter-American human rights law requires the United States to prevent gun manufacturers, distributors, and dealers from recklessly making and selling guns in ways that cause deaths and injuries. The U.S., like other nations, is obligated to protect the exercise of human rights; a State cannot simply tolerate its people to be repeatedly deprived of their lives. The suit explains that U.S. gun policies and the Supreme Court’s Second Amendment decisions are inconsistent with the human right to live that the U.S. is required to respect, and enable the gun industry to profit from crime throughout the region.
Joaquin Oliver v. United States, the Lawsuit for Survival, launches Global Action on Gun Violence’s global Campaign for Survival. This includes a call-to-action petition for signers to make their voices heard to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and to the U.S. Award-winning independent advertising agency Zulu Alpha Kilo New York has created film, print and social media elements supporting the campaign. Watch the video
At noon on November 9th, Manny Oliver, Jonathan Lowy, Arturo Carrillo, and noted trial attorney Mike Haggard will hold a discussion about the Lawsuit for Survival and the Campaign for Survival. The event is open to the media (no cameras allowed). The discussion will also be streamed live and recorded. For more details, contact Stephanie Lowet.
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About Manny and Patricia Oliver
Manny and Patricia Oliver are the parents of Joaquin Oliver, a teen killed five years ago in a mass shooting that claimed 17 lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. In honor of their son, the Olivers have dedicated their lives to eradicating gun violence. This includes creating ChangetheRef.org to
About Global Action on Gun Violence
Global Action on Gun Violence is a non-profit organization dedicated to ending gun violence in the U.S. and throughout the world, using litigation, human rights actions, advocacy and messaging. GAGV represents the Government of Mexico in anti-gun trafficking litigation, is foreign legal counsel in a Canadian gun lawsuit, and works with the United Nations, the Organization of American States, and other international bodies to address gun violence. GAGV Founder and President Jonathan Lowy has litigated the Second Amendment and other gun cases for more than 25 years.
About Zulu Alpha Kilo
With offices in New York, Toronto, and Vancouver, Zulu Alpha Kilo has been consistently recognized as one of the top independent creative agencies in the world. Prominent honors include Ad Age’s Small International Agency of the Year (2022, 2021, 2017, 2016), Campaign US’s Independent Agency of the Year (2021), Forbes’ Top 100 Innovators of the Year and Best Small Companies in North America (2018), and Fast Company’s World-Changing Ideas (2022, 2021, 2020).