The U.N. Human Rights Council has condemned discriminatory and violent policing after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, United States last month and ordered a report on “systemic racism” against people of African descent.
The 47-member-state forum unanimously adopted a resolution brought by the 54 African countries. The mandate also asks U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet to examine government responses to peaceful protests, including alleged use of excessive force, and deliver findings in a year’s time.
Philonise Floyd, the brother of the Black man whose death under the knee of a white officer roused world protests against racial injustice, urged the forum on Wednesday to investigate U.S. police brutality and racial discrimination.
Burkina Faso’s Ambassador Dieudonné W. Désiré Sougouri presented the African resolution on Friday, urging its adoption by consensus.
“It is important to show Africa…the Human Rights Council has heard the plight of African and people of African descent calling for equal treatment and application of equal rights for all,” he said.
The Africa group had made numerous “concessions” in the negotiations with other countries, he added.
Senegal’s envoy Coly Seck, a former council president, welcomed the consensus, telling the talks: “Black Lives Matter”.
The text was watered down during closed-door negotiations from an initial draft explicitly calling for a U.N. commission of inquiry on racism in the United States and elsewhere.
“It is absurd that the final resolution passed by the United Nations strips mention of the United States, where police kill people, particularly Black people, at alarmingly higher rates compared to other developed countries,” said Jamil Dakwar of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which led 600 activist groups in calling for the urgent debate.
“The United Nations needs to do its job — not get bullied out of doing it — and hold the United States accountable,” he said in a statement.