December 6, 2023


Future Depends on What You Do

UN Phone calls for Reform of US Justice Program to Overcome Systemic Racism

In a no-retains-barred report submitted to the United Nations human rights council Thursday, U.N. human legal rights professionals have known as for urgent reform of the U.S. prison justice procedure to battle what they say is systemic racism and racial discrimination from persons of African descent.

The 32-web page report observed that racism in the United States, a legacy of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade, continues to exist nowadays in the kind of racial profiling, police killings and other human legal rights violations.

“In the United States, we witnessed the overrepresentation of folks of African descent in the felony justice procedure,” Tracie Keesee, a U.N. impartial qualified, told the council.

Keesee is one of 3 members of the International Unbiased Professional System to Advance Racial Justice and Equality in the Context of Regulation Enforcement. The System was set up by the council in 2021 following the murder of African American George Floyd, who was killed by police officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in May well 2020.

The Mechanism’s report was based mostly on a 12-working day stop by to six major U.S. cities in April and May perhaps to look into the root brings about of systemic racism. They frequented five detention facilities, fulfilled with officers and civil society teams, and heard testimonies from 133 afflicted folks.

“We ended up alarmed by the figures and instances in which men and women of African descent are killed by police in disproportionate figures, pointing to a systemic problem,” Keesee mentioned.

The report found that “Every year, additional than 1,000 people are reportedly killed by law enforcement all over the region. Readily available information shows that Black individuals are a few situations extra possible to be killed by police than white folks,” and 4.5 times additional very likely to be incarcerated.

Keesee expressed concern about the enhanced use of police response “to mental health crises, schooling, homelessness and targeted traffic controls,” which disproportionately affect people today of African descent.

The investigators identified that African American females prisoners characterize 34% of all incarcerated females and had been “more probably to be restrained and shackled than their white counterparts.”

“The System listened to, firsthand, unbearable immediate testimonies of expecting ladies shackled all through labor, who owing to the chaining missing their toddlers,” the report claimed.

They expressed shock at the substantial variety of incarcerated little ones, quite a few of whom are held in grownup prisons, noting that “only in 2019, there were extra than 240,000 occurrences of children detained, dedicated or each in the juvenile justice system.”

The report stated that “Black youngsters were extra than 4 situations as possible to be detained or dedicated in juvenile facilities as their white peers” and that a lot of of these children had been sentenced to lifetime imprisonment.

Keesee named on the U.S. governing administration “to address the legacies of enslavement, which nevertheless guide to discriminatory procedures, and to adopt option techniques to policing.”

Michele Taylor, U.S. ambassador to the U.N. human rights council, acknowledged that “systemic racism from folks of African descent in the law enforcement and the criminal justice methods has existed for generations and carries on to exist in the United States and overseas.”

She claimed Washington remained fully commited to advancing racial justice and fairness and to protecting against and countering systemic racism wherever it takes place, noting the Biden administration was enterprise many initiatives to tackle the impression of systemic racism “through safe, efficient and accountable local community policing as properly as advancements to the prison justice program.”

Nada Al-Nashif, U.N. deputy higher commissioner for human rights, who led the debate at the council, reported that a report by Significant Commissioner Volker Türk indicated that some optimistic techniques have been taken to tackle systemic racism considering the fact that the killing of George Floyd.

For case in point, she said, “All 4 previous Minneapolis police officers associated in the murder of George Floyd have been sentenced to prison phrases by state and federal courts.”

Then all over again, she noted that British officers reinvestigated the scenario of Kevin Clarke, a 35-year-outdated Black gentleman who experienced a mental wellness disaster and died next restraint by Metropolitan Police officers in London in 2018.

Primarily based on their results, she claimed, “the Unbiased Place of work for Police Carry out announced that two law enforcement officers will confront proceedings for gross misconduct and one particular police officer for gross incompetence.”

Regretably, this kind of outcomes are uncommon, she claimed.

“It continues to be crystal clear that in the extensive greater part of deaths of men and women of African descent just after an interaction with regulation enforcement, progress toward accountability and redress is severely lacking,” she said.

“In their battle for justice, family members keep on to endure protracted and emotionally and monetarily draining procedures — with no suitable state assistance,” she said.