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  • Thousands took to the streets in Atlanta Monday to protest the death three days earlier of another black man at the hands of a white police officer.

    Thousands took to the streets in Atlanta Monday to protest the death three days earlier of another black man at the hands of a white police officer. | Photo: EFE

Published 15 June 2020
Opinion

Wednesday's hearing will focus on the global epidemic of racism that affects black and brown citizens of multiple countries but will focus on the U.S. specifically.

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) agreed Monday to hold an emergency debate Wednesday on “systemic racism, police brutality and violence against peaceful protests” in the United States and elsewhere.

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UNHRC’s decision followed a request last week by Burkina Faso on behalf of 54 African countries in response to the killing on May 25, of George Floyd, a black U.S. citizen, under the knee of a white Minneapolis police officer.

“The death of George Floyd is unfortunately not an isolated incident. The numbers of previous cases of unarmed people of African descent who met the same fate because of uncontrolled police violence are legion,” the request said in a letter made public by the U.N.

"The protests the world is witnessing are a rejection of the fundamental racial inequality and discrimination that characterize life in the United States for black people," Burkina Faso's representative to the U.N. in Geneva, Dieudonne W. Desire Sougouri, said Friday in a statement. 

Austria’s ambassador, Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger, who serves as current president of the Council said it was the moment to “really discuss the issue.”

“This is a topic which is not just about one country, it goes well beyond that,” she told a news conference. African countries may prepare a resolution for consideration at the debate, Tichy-Fisslberger added.

The U.S. mission in Geneva had no immediate comment on the Council’s decision, but last week issued a statement decrying the “senseless death of George Floyd” and saying that justice and transparency were “core values” of the U.S.

Protests over the killing of Floyd and the ongoing problem of police racism and brutality are not waning and continued across the country over the weekend as demonstrators in multiple cities mobilized for black lives. 

Wednesday's hearing will focus on the global epidemic of racism that affects black citizens of multiple countries but will focus on the U.S. specifically. The U.S. is not a member of the 47-member state forum in Geneva, having quit it two years ago alleging bias against its ally Israel.

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