African countries are pushing for the UN’s top rights body to launch a high-level investigation into “systemic racism” and police violence in the United States and beyond, according to a draft resolution seen on Tuesday by AFP.
The text was being circulated to diplomats for consultations ahead of a so-called urgent debate on the topic at the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council on Wednesday. The debate was called for following unrest in the United States and elsewhere over George Floyd’s death in police custody.
In the draft resolution, the African group strongly condemns “continuing racial discriminatory and violent practices perpetrated by law enforcement agencies against Africans and people of African descent and structural racism endemic to the criminal justice system, in the United States of America and other parts of the world recently affected.”
The draft resolution, which could still be revised before it is tabled later on Tuesday, calls for the establishment of an independent international commission of inquiry (COI) – one of the UN’s highest-level probes, generally reserved for major crises like the Syrian conflict.
The commission, the text said, should “establish facts and circumstances related to the systemic racism, alleged violations of international human rights law and abuses against Africans and of people of African descent in the United States” and elsewhere by law enforcement agencies, especially those incidents that resulted in the deaths.
The aim, it said, should be “bringing perpetrators to justice”.
The investigators should also probe “the federal, state and local government responses to peaceful protests, including the alleged use of excessive force against protesters, bystanders and journalists,” it said.