The United Nations’ Human Rights Council will debate systemic racism and police brutality in the United States following a call from all 54 African nations.
“Structural racism and police violence are issues, which are commonly raised by states and civil society at meetings of the council, as are unlawful killings by police and racial bias in policing,” U.N. human rights spokesman Rolando Gomez told Voice of America. “And, the aim, of course, is to prevent such abhorrent acts.”
The announcement comes as protests continue to galvanize millions across the nation to speak out against racial injustice and police brutality following the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis. The Minneapolis City Council caved to public pressure last week, unanimously passing a resolution to disband the police force with a community-led model.
“The tragic events of 25 May in Minneapolis that led to the death of George Floyd led to protests around the world in protest of injustice and police brutality that persons of African descent face on a daily basis in many regions of the world,” Burkina Faso’s ambassador to the U.N., Dieudonné W. Désiré Sougouri, said in the formal urgent debate request. “The death of George Floyd is unfortunately not an isolated incident. Many other cases of persons of African descent having faced the same fate because of the origin and police violence exist.”
The United States is not a member of the 47-member state forum in Geneva. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and then-U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley withdrew the U.S. two years ago after alleging bias against Israel.