The United Nations issues a resolution condemning racism without reference to the United States

The United Nations Human Rights Council unanimously adopted a resolution Friday condemning systematic racism and security violence after a historic debate and after removing a special reference to the United States from it.

The Geneva-based council, which Washington withdrew in 2018, adopted the draft resolution submitted by African countries as part of an emergency meeting called for after the death of George Floyd and mass demonstrations against racism around the world.

Floyd, forty, died of suffocation when police arrested him in the US city of Minneapolis on May 25.

In its first version, the draft resolution demanded the formation of an independent international commission of inquiry to highlight "systematic racism" in the United States. This type of high-level committee usually constitutes major crises along the lines of the Syrian conflict.

But the text was gradually softened and no longer reminds the United States, which angered NGOs.

The final version was limited to the request of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michel Bachelet, to "prepare a report on systematic racism, violations of international human rights law and abuse of Africans and people of African descent by the security forces."

In particular, the report should consider "the events that led to the death of George Floyd, other Africans and people of African descent, with the aim of contributing to the identification of responsibilities and redress for the victims."

Non-governmental human rights organizations have accused the United States of pressing to empty the text of much of its content.

"By harassing other countries to weaken what would have been a historic decision, and thus evading any international investigation, the United States is turning its back on victims of security and black violence," the American Civil Liberties Union said.

For her part, Michelle Bachelet condemned Wednesday before the Council "systematic racism", without mentioning the United States, and called for "public apology" for centuries of repression of blacks, through "official apologies" and "compensation."

After a minute of silence in honor of all victims of racism, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohamed said in a video message that it was the "responsibility" of the United Nations to respond to the victims of racism.

Before the opening of the meeting on Wednesday, twenty senior African or African-American officials, including the Director-General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanum Gebresos, personally signed a statement in which they considered that "limiting itself to condemning racist expressions and actions is not enough."

Before the vote, the representative of Burkina Faso representing the African Group on the Human Rights Council recognized that "several concessions" had been made in order to "ensure consensus" on the text.

On Wednesday, George Floyd's brother sent a touching video message to the United Nations calling for reforms. "You have the capacity to help us achieve justice," said Filonis Floyd.

He called for the formation of an "independent commission of inquiry on black women killed by police in the United States and the violence used against peaceful demonstrators."

For his part, the US Ambassador to the United Nations Andrew Brumberg this week pointed to his country's "transparency" in combating discrimination and ethnic injustice.

After US President Donald Trump issued a soft-spoken executive order on the matter, Republican Senators on Wednesday presented a bill on the use of strangulation in arrests and training of police, without going into the broad immunity they enjoyed for years.

 

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