Secretary of State Antony Blinken issued a “formal, standing invitation” for United Nations officials to investigate “systemic racism” in American policing.
As Blinken details in a statement, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights released a report about global police brutality against people of African descent. In response, Blinken welcomed foreign scrutiny of “systemic racism” in the United States:
As the President has repeatedly made clear, great nations such as ours do not hide from our shortcomings; they acknowledge them openly and strive to improve with transparency. In so doing, we not only work to set the standard for national responses to these challenges, we also strengthen our democracy, and give new hope and motivation to human rights defenders across the globe.
It is in this context that the United States intends to issue a formal, standing invitation to all UN experts who report and advise on thematic human rights issues. As a first step, we have reached out to offer an official visit by the UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism and the UN Special Rapporteur on minority issues. I also welcome the UN Human Rights Council’s adoption today in Geneva of a resolution to address systemic racism against Africans and people of African descent in the context of law enforcement. I look forward to engaging with the new mechanism to advance racial justice and equity.
Michelle Bachelet — who served as President of Chile for eight years on behalf of the nation’s Socialist Party — currently works as High Commissioner for Human Rights. According to The New York Times, Bachelet said on Monday that there is “an urgent need to confront the legacies of enslavement, the trans-Atlantic slave trade, colonialism, and successive racially discriminatory policies and systems, and to seek reparatory justice.”
The New York Times added:
A panel of three experts in law enforcement and human rights will have a three-year mandate to investigate the root causes and effects of systemic racism in policing, including the legacies of slavery and colonialism, and to make recommendations for change. It will look at issues ranging from excessive use of force, racial profiling and police handling of peaceful protests to links between racial supremacy movements and the police and the criminal justice system.
The panel is the outgrowth of a resolution by African countries that built on a report released this month by the U.N. human rights office. The report analyzed the deaths of 190 people of African descent, mostly in the United States, detailing the lack of accountability for police killings and urging states to pursue change.
Members of the United Nations Human Rights Council — which works alongside Bachelet to uphold the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights — include China, Cuba, Russia, and Venezuela.
All four nations have dubious human rights records. China — beyond its genocide of Uyghurs in Xinjiang — rolled back civil liberties in Hong Kong and recently announced intentions to take over Taiwan. Cuba is presently jailing anti-communism protesters and restricting internet access on the island. Meanwhile, Russia and Venezuela recently arrested opposition leaders Alexei Navalny and Freddy Guevara.
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