The United Nations Human Rights Council has decided to hold an urgent debate on allegations of “systemic racism, police brutality, and violence against peaceful protests” in the United States.
The U.N.’s top human rights body’s decision to hold the debate followed a request by West African country, Burkina Faso, on behalf of 54 African countries, to address the matter in the wake of George Floyd’s death on May 25.
Floyd’s death under the knee of former police Officer Derek Chauvin has sparked protests and riots around the country and around the world.
The African coalition argued in a letter to the U.N. that Floyd’s death is “not an isolated incident, with many previous cases of unarmed persons of African descent suffering the same fate due to unchecked police brutality.”
“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, and other people of color,” the letter stated.
The council’s current president, Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger of Austria, responded by accepting the request and saying that the African countries may prepare a resolution for consideration at the debate, Reuters reported.
“We think it is a moment to really discuss this issue, as you have seen with the demonstrations all over Europe, including here in Geneva,” Tichy-Fisslberger told reporters at a news conference.
“This is a topic which is not just about one country, it goes well beyond that,” Tichy-Fisslberger insisted. Though there are doubts over this notion, since the African coalition specifically cited the U.S. in their request for debate.
Also, last week, Floyd’s family called on the U.N. to investigate George Floyd’s death and address systemic racism in the U.S.
The family’s lawyer, Benjamin Crump, said in a statement that the country “has a long pattern and practice of depriving Black citizens of the fundamental human right to life.”
According to the U.N., the debate on “current racially inspired human rights violations, systematic racism, police brutality and the violence against peaceful protests” has been scheduled to take place at 3 p.m. ET Wednesday, June 17.