CM – UN head of human rights calls for measures to end systemic racism


GENEVA – UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet calls for concrete measures and measures to end systemic racism and racist violence against Africans and people of African descent. In a report to the UN Human Rights Council, the High Commissioner made a number of recommendations for solving existing problems.

The report was commissioned by the council a year ago after the murder of African American George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Bachelet called the Floyd murder a turning point. She said it brought the world’s attention to the human rights abuses routinely suffered by Africans and people of African descent.

The report provides a comprehensive overview of the inequalities, marginalization and lack of opportunity that leave many African descent powerless, trapped in poverty and victims of a system of social injustice.

The report focuses on law enforcement deaths. Bachelet says her office received information on at least 190 deaths of Africans and people of African descent. She notes that 98% occurred in Europe, Latin America, and North America.

She said that in all of these cases there has been a strikingly consistent failure to see justice.

“Three key contexts in which police-related deaths stand out: the surveillance of minor offenses, traffic stops and searches; law enforcement intervention as first responders in mental health crises; and special police operations related to the « war on drugs » or gang-related operations … In addition, law enforcement officers are rarely held accountable for human rights abuses and crimes against people of African descent, « Bachelet said.

The assassination of George Floyd was a rare exception. Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin, whose actions resulted in Floyd’s death, was videotaped and convicted by millions of witnesses, and sentenced to more than 20 years in prison.

In a video statement, Floyd’s brother Philonius said he still felt the terrible pain of watching his brother die.

“He was tortured to death in broad daylight. That was a modern day execution … It’s hard to know the police are safe to run away from and they will still shoot you in the back without you having a gun. They don’t have a weapon, but at the same time they get qualified immunity, ”he said.

Given the profound and far-reaching injustices, Bachelet said there was an urgent need to face the legacies of slavery and seek redress.

Her recommendations include recognizing the systemic nature of racism in order to change structures. They call for law enforcement officers to be held accountable for crimes, for freedom of expression and peaceful assembly to be guaranteed during protests against racism, and for steps to be taken to address the damage caused through a wide range of reparative measures.


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