World Bank helps Maldives improve secondary education

More than two years since the murder of George Floyd by a police officer in the United States sparked the global Black Lives Matter movement, there has been only “fragmentary progress” in the fight against systemic racism, said Friday the United Nations human rights office (OHCHR). in a new report. As more people have been made aware of systemic racism and concrete action has been taken in some countries, the Acting High Commissioner for Human Rights has called on States to show greater political will to speed up the action.

“There have been a few initiatives in different countries to combat racism, but for the most part they are piecemeal. They fall short of the comprehensive, evidence-based approaches needed to dismantle the entrenched structural, institutional and societal racism that has existed for centuries and continues to inflict deep damage today,” said Nada Al-Nashif, who will present the report to the UN. Human Rights Council on Monday.

Trigger Change

The report describes international, national and local initiatives that have been taken to end the scourge of racism.

These include a White House executive order on promoting effective and accountable policing and criminal justice practices in federal law enforcement agencies; an anti-racism data law in British Columbia, Canada; measures to assess ethnic profiling by the police in Sweden; and the collection of census data to identify people of African descent in Argentina.

The European Commission has published guidance on the collection and use of data based on racial or ethnic origin; presentation of official apologies, commemoration, revisiting of public spaces and research to assess the links with slavery and colonialism in several countries.

“Barometer of success”

The report notes that poor outcomes persist for people of African descent in many countries, including in access to health and adequate food, education, social protection and justice, while that poverty, enforced disappearances and violence persist.

It highlights “continuing allegations of discriminatory treatment, unlawful deportations, excessive use of force and deaths of African migrants and migrants of African descent by law enforcement officials”.

The barometer of success must be a positive change in the lived experiences of people of African descentMs. Al-Nashif continued.

“States must listen to people of African descent, meaningfully involve them and take real action to address their concerns.”

Higher death rates

Where available, recent data still points to disproportionately high death rates faced by people of African descent, at the hands of law enforcement, in different countries.

“Families of African descent continued to report the immense challenges, obstacles and protracted processes they faced in their search for truth and justice for the deaths of their loved ones,” the report said.

It details seven cases of police-related deaths of people of African descent, namely George Floyd and Breonna Taylor (US); Adama Traore (France); Luana Barbosa dos Reis Santos and João Pedro Matos Pinto (Brazil); Kevin Clarke (UK) and Janner [Hanner] Garcia Palomino (Colombia).

While noting some progress towards accountability in a few of these iconic cases, “unfortunately, not a single case has yet been brought to a conclusion, as these families still seek truth, justice and guarantees of non-recurrence. , and the prosecution and punishment of all those responsible,” the report said.

Ms. Al-Nashif called on States to “redouble their efforts to ensure accountability and redress wherever deaths of Africans and people of African descent have occurred in the context of law enforcement, and to take steps to address the legacies that perpetuate and sustain systemic racism.”

Helen D. Jessen