UN to establish panel to investigate systemic racism in police


The United Nations on Tuesday announced plans to form an expert panel to examine the root causes and effects of systemic racism in policing the world, including the legacy of slavery and colonialism, the New York Times Reports.

Why is this important: The move follows a year of heightened attention to police brutality against blacks and comes after a UN Human Rights report detailed the need for restorative justice and accountability.

Details: The panel, made up of three law enforcement and human rights experts, is expected to have a three-year mandate for its investigation and to make recommendations for workable changes.

  • The other side: Britain and other former European colonial powers opposed the proposed panel, arguing that several UN entities are already responding to racial-related societal issues and that colonialism-focused investigations could distract attention from the fight against contemporary racism.

Between the lines: Civil rights groups see the resolution as a litmus test of the Biden administration’s willingness to deliver on its campaign pledges to fight racism and how it will engage with the Human Rights Council. ‘man,’ writes The Times.

To note: The survey is the result of a resolution by African countries following the UN findings outlining systemic barriers to education, health care, employment, housing, clean water, political participation and other fundamental rights.

  • “[A] the gist of the problem is that many people believe in the misconceptions that the abolition of slavery, the end of transatlantic trade and colonialism removed the structures of racial discrimination built by these practices; [but] we found out that is not true ”, Mona Rishmawi of the United Nations Human Rights Office said in a press release when the report was released in June.
  • For people of African descent, these heritages are “part of their daily life and of the daily reality of dehumanization, marginalization and denial of their rights”.

The big picture: The protests in response to the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis last May have sparked mass protests around the world.

What to watch: In the United States, Democrats and Republicans are working on a police reform bill.


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