UN to commission report on racism
GENEVA: The UN’s top human rights body voted unanimously Friday to commission a UN report on systemic racism and discrimination against black people while stopping short of ordering a more intensive investigation singling out the United States after the death of George Floyd at the hands of police sparked worldwide demonstrations.
The Human Rights Council approved a consensus resolution following days of grappling over language after African nations backed away from their initial push for a commission of inquiry, the council’s most intrusive form of scrutiny, focusing more on the US. Instead, the resolution calls for a simple and more generic report to be written by the UN human rights chief’s office and outside experts.
The aim is “to contribute to accountability and redress for victims” in the U.S. and beyond, the resolution states.
Iran and Palestine signed on as co-sponsors for the resolution that condemns “the continuing racially discriminatory and violent practices” by law enforcement against Africans and people of African descent “in particular which led to the death of George Floyd on 25 May 2020 in Minnesota,” it says. Any state can sign on as a resolution co-sponsor at the council.
The approved text also asks U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet to examine government responses to anti-racism peaceful protests, and calls on her to report back to the council in June 2021. It asked her to also include updates on police brutality against Africans and people of African descent in her regular updates to the council.
US officials have engaged in back-channel diplomacy as the text was being drawn up — but the United States is officially on the sidelines of the 47-nation council.
The Trump administration pulled the US out two years ago, citing the council’s alleged antiIsrael bias and acceptance of autocratic regimes with pockmarked rights records as members.
US: PROTESTERS PULL DOWN, BURN STATUE
WASHINGTON: Protesters toppled the statue of a Confederate general in the nation’s capital and set it on fire on Juneteenth, the day marking the end of slavery in the US, amid anti-racism demonstrations following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Demonstrators jumped up and down as the 11-foot statue of Albert Pike wobbled on its pedestal before falling backward, landing in a pile of dust.