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United Nations calls on member states to “start dismantling” racism

by Mike Creef, Staff Writer

Geneva – On Monday the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, issued an urgent call for States to adopt a “transformative agenda” to uproot systemic racism. She published a report casting a spotlight on the litany of violations of economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights suffered by people of African descent – on a daily basis and across different States and jurisdictions. 

The report states that the worldwide mobilization of people calling for racial justice has forced a long-delayed reckoning with racism and shifted debates towards a focus on the systemic nature of racism and the institutions that perpetuate it.

“We examined deaths at the hands of law enforcement officials in different countries with varying legal systems, and found striking similarities and patterns. Several families described to me the agony they faced in pursuing truth, justice and redress – and the distressing presumption that their loved ones somehow ‘deserved it’. It is disheartening that the system is not stepping up to support them. This must change.” 

Report highlights “compounding inequalities”

The UN Human Rights Office was mandated in June 2020 – in the wake of the murder of George Floyd in the United States – to produce 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 analysis carried out by the office is based on online consultations with over 340 individuals, mostly of African descent; over 110 written contributions, including with States; on a review of publicly available material; and on additional consultations with relevant experts.

The report details the “compounding inequalities” and “stark socioeconomic and political marginalization” that afflict people of African descent in many States. Across numerous countries, most notably in North and South America and in Europe, people of African descent disproportionately live in poverty and face serious barriers in accessing their rights to education, healthcare, employment, adequate housing and clean water, as well as to political participation, and other fundamental human rights.

To read the full release from the UN High Commissioner, Click Here.

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