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HRC43 – Urgent debate – MRG calls for independent investigations into racist police brutality in the USA and for strong UN action to eradicate systemic racism in law enforcement at the global level

18 June 2020

Human Rights Council – 43rd Session

Urgent Debate on “the current racially inspired human rights violations, systemic racism, police brutality and the violence against peaceful protest”

Statement from Minority Rights Group

Madam President,

Minority Rights Group stands in solidarity with the Black Live Matters movement.

Minority Rights Group welcomes the convening of this urgent debate by the Human Rights Council. It is a recognition of the urgency of highlighting how systemic structural racism, particularly in law enforcement agencies in the United States of America, is costing lives of Black and Hispanic Americans, as powerfully denounced by the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

The protests have struck a chord across the United States and around the world, where entrenched social stigma and institutional racism still allows the accident of birth to be the main determinant of an individual’s life trajectory. This contrasts with the world imagined by the drafters of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In the United States, despite decades of struggle by the civil rights movement, despite repeated recommendations from human rights organizations, including UN bodies, the profound reforms that would be necessary to address the scourge of systemic racism in law enforcement have not been undertaken. The murder of George Floyd by a police officer in Minnesota echoes similar tragic killings by police officers of unarmed Black or Hispanic Americans in the United States, such as Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, and Philando Castile, which have consistently been met with a lack of transparency and with impunity.

In light of this situation, we call on the Human Rights Council to mandate an independent investigation into the situation of systemic racism and police violence in the United States.

We also support the call from the Special Rapporteur on racism and from the Working Group on People of African descent for separate but strong and decisive action from the HRC on systemic racism in law enforcement at the global level. Racial discrimination and police brutality has been a lived reality for many minorities and indigenous peoples around the world. Efforts to eradicate this scourge in the United States should be mirrored by similar reforms in other countries where systemic racism in law enforcement and beyond routinely cost the lives, the physical and mental integrity, and the trust in society of people of African descent and other minorities.

I thank you