The United Nations is finally doing something activists since Malcolm X’s times have been calling for. The UN said it will look into abuses by the police of African Americans and other minorities. Just last week, the UN condemned U.S. police brutality and called for a review of “Stand Your Ground,” a controversial self-defense statute in 22 U.S. states.
This decision was reached by the U.N. racism watchdog following the fatal shooting of an unarmed Black teenager by a white policeman in Ferguson, Missouri.
Minorities, particularly African Americans, are victims at an unfair rate, states the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) after it examined the U.S. record, reports The Huffington Post.
“Racial and ethnic discrimination remains a serious and persistent problem in all areas of life from de facto school segregation, access to health care and housing,” Noureddine Amir, CERD committee vice chairman, told a press briefing.
Intense protests ensued after teenager Michael Brown was shot dead by a white police officer on Aug. 9. The incident of one of many tragic events that put a spotlight on race relations in America.
“The excessive use of force by law enforcement officials against racial and ethnic minorities is an ongoing issue of concern and particularly in light of the shooting of Michael Brown,” said Amir.
“This is not an isolated event and illustrates a bigger problem in the United States, such as racial bias among law enforcement officials, the lack of proper implementation of rules and regulations governing the use of force, and the inadequacy of training of law enforcement officials.”
A panel of 18 independent experts questioned a senior U.S. delegation on Aug. 13 about a perceived persistent racial discrimination against African-Americans and other minorities, especially within the criminal justice system.
Even U.S. Ambassador Keith Harper had to admit there was a problem. He told the panel that while the U.S. had made “great strides toward eliminating racial discrimination…we have much left to do.”
With Stand Your Ground, the UN panel said it needs to be reviewed to “remove far-reaching immunity and ensure strict adherence to principles of necessity and proportionality when deadly force is used for self-defense.”
“The Committee remains concerned at the practice of racial profiling of racial or ethnic minorities by law enforcement officials, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Transportation Security Administration, border enforcement officials and local police,” it said and urged investigations.
Also, the panel, which monitors compliance with a treaty ratified by 177 countries including the United States, said that the obstacles faced by minorities and indigenous peoples to exercise their right to vote effectively must be addressed.
Jamil Dakwar of the American Civil Liberties Union said the U.N. feedback showed “shortcomings on racial equality that we are seeing play out today on our streets, at our borders and in the voting booth.
“When it comes to human rights, the United States must practice at home what it preaches abroad,” he said.