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  • While the letter called for a debate on racism around the globe, it, in particular, highlighted the situation in the U.S.

    While the letter called for a debate on racism around the globe, it, in particular, highlighted the situation in the U.S. | Photo: AFP

Published 13 June 2020
Opinion

A letter written on behalf of 54 African countries asked the UN's top rights body for an "urgent debate" on "racially inspired human rights violations.

African countries on Friday called on the United Nation Human Rights Council to urgently debate racism and police impunity, amid growing protests over George Floyd's death in the United States and other parts of the world.

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In a letter written on behalf of 54 African countries, Burkina Faso's ambassador to the UN in Geneva asked the UN's top rights body for an "urgent debate" on "racially inspired human rights violations, police brutality against  Black people and the violence against the peaceful protests that call for these injustices to stop."

The letter, addressed to rights council president Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger of Austria, requested that this debate be held next week, when the council's 43rd session resumes, after being stalled by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

According to the AFP, for the council to consider such a request, it needs to have the backing of at least one country.

With the request now coming from a large group of states, "that increases the chances" it will take place, a council spokesman told AFP.

The call came after Floyd's family, along with the families of other victims of police violence and more than 600 NGOs this week called on the council to urgently address systemic racism and police impunity in the U.S. and the world.

The death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old unarmed Black man, went viral on social media, when on May 25 four U.S. police officers from the city of Minneapolis suffocated him for nearly 9 minutes until he was killed.

"Sadly, the fates of many other victims attracted no attention, as they were not captured on social media for all to see," Ambassador Dieudonne Desire Sougouri wrote on behalf of the African Group at the council.

Meanwhile, Council President is expected to announce a proposed day for the debate on Monday, and unless there are any objections, which is unlikely, it will go ahead.


 

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