A report requested by African countries to the United Nations office of Human Rights to investigate the treatment of people of African decent/ black in the world by law enforcement has just been released.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet today called upon the United States of America to adopt a “transformative agenda” to uproot systemic racism.
A global culture denial of the treatment of people of African decent has continued unabated since slavery, through colonialism and post civil rights to very present day all over the world.
The scathing report pointed out numerous violations of economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights suffered by people of African descent – on a daily basis and across different States and it’s jurisdictions.
The UN findings noted the systemic nature of racism and the institutions that perpetuate it – where blackness is often if not always equated for criminality. “The status quo is untenable,” High Commissioner Bachelet said. “Systemic racism needs a systemic response. There needs to be a comprehensive rather than a piecemeal approach to dismantling systems entrenched in centuries of discrimination and violence. We need a transformative approach that tackles the interconnected areas that drive racism, and lead to repeated, wholly avoidable, tragedies like the death of George Floyd.”, the report noted.
The statement continued and quote – “I am calling on all States to stop denying, and start dismantling, racism; to end impunity and build trust; to listen to the voices of people of African descent; and to confront past legacies and deliver redress.”
The Human Rights Council resolution 43/1 authorized the UN Human Rights office – in the wake of the murder of George Floyd in the United States – to investigate and issue a comprehensive report on systemic racism, violations of international human rights law against Africans and people of African descent by law enforcement agencies, government responses to anti-racism peaceful protests, as well as accountability and redress for victims.
The report looked into 190 death cases of police brutality, mostly in the US and Latin America. Three scenarios we’re always cropped up in which police-related fatalities occurred most frequently:
- The policing of minor offences
- Traffic stops
Too often and many a times, people of African decent/ black can be pulled over by police in many US jurisdictions and what may not have been an infraction or a minor issue ends up in death. Most of these cases end up without any justice for the victims nor their families and this has continued with impunity.
The report issued continues … “The dehumanization of people of African descent […] has sustained and cultivated a tolerance for racial discrimination, inequality and violence,”. The report also found “striking similarities” in different countries when it came to issues of injustice of African/ black people.
In most of these instances, the victims did not appear to pose any imminent threat of death or serious injury to law enforcement officials, or to the public, that would justify the level of force used. The problem persists especially when no independent oversight of law enforcement and total lack of data exist.