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Racial discrimination against African Americans (HRC33, 2016, Joint-OS)

Date : 2016.09.26

IMADR delivered the joint oral statement with US Human Rights Network on “Racial discrimination against African Americans” at the 33rd session of the Human Rights Council. Whole text can be read below or downloaded here

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Joint Oral Statement: 33rd session of the Human Rights Council

Item 9: Interactive Dialogue with the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent

26 September 2016

Thank you Mr. President,

 IMADR and the US Human Rights Network welcome the Working Group’s report on the USA and its recommendations. We reiterate the Working Group’s regret that the U.S. Government failed to facilitate a visit to the Parchman Farm and meetings with various authorities requested by the experts.

We note with urgency the persistent racial discrimination in the criminal justice system, which has resulted in continuing use of excessive force by law enforcement officials perpetrated with impunity, racial profiling, over-representation of African Americans in prison and disproportionate penalties. In May this year, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) also expressed its regret on the U.S. Government’s inadequate implementation of the 2014 recommendations on excessive use of force by law enforcement officials.[1]

The persistent prejudice against African Americans is a root-cause for police misconduct and unjust treatment. To begin to build confidence in the justice system, the U.S. Government should ensure that all law enforcement officers are investigated promptly and held accountable for their actions. We also support calls for community control of policing, an end to “broken-windows” policing, and sufficient representation of African Americans members in the justice system such as law enforcement officials, prosecutors, and judges.

Moreover, it has to be stressed that racial bias in rule of law is one side of racial discrimination in the country. People of African descent are often prevented from equal enjoyment of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights due to structural racial discrimination and prejudice. Since the stigmatisation of African Americans is deeply rooted in the society, the U.S. Government is urged to take nation-wide measures to dismantle the barriers to equal enjoyment of human rights in different spheres such as education, employment, health, and media. Such measures should be designed as comprehensive anti-discrimination measures in order to address multiple forms of discrimination faced by African Americans based on their sex, ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability. In this vein, we endorse the Working Group’s recommendation to ratify the core international human rights treaties to close the existing gap in the national human rights protection framework.

Thank you Mr. President.

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[1] UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (24 May 2016), Follow-up letter (CERD/89th/FU/GH/SK/ks) available at: http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CERD/Shared%20Documents/USA/INT_CERD_FUL_USA_23994_E.pdf

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