June 15 (UPI) -- After resuming its 43rd session that was interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic three months ago, the United Nations Human Rights Council on Monday agreed to an unscheduled debate on racial inequality in the United States.
The council agreed to the unscheduled debate after receiving a letter last week from several African nations. Burkina Faso diplomat Dieudonne Desire Sougouri, coordinator of the African Group, formally made the request Monday.
"The death of George Floyd is unfortunately not an isolated incident," the letter read. "The numbers of previous cases of unarmed people of African descent who met the same fate because of uncontrolled police violence are legion."
The debate is scheduled for Wednesday.
The council had been scheduled Monday to debate "human rights bodies and mechanisms" and consider reports by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres about Palestinian human rights and rights in "other occupied Arab territories."
The renewed session and discussion of Palestinian human rights comes amid plans by Israel to annex parts of the West Bank, which have been condemned by Palestinian leaders.
Wednesday and Thursday, the council will hold discussions on a U.N. plan of action to combat racism, discrimination, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance worldwide.
The council said it will also stage talks on human rights challenges in Ukraine, Libya, Afghanistan and Mali, and high-level dialogue on rights in the Central African Republic and Democratic Republic of the Congo. The OHCHR said this month about 1,300 civilian Congolese have died in the past eight months due to attacks by government and opposition forces.
That report cited violence in the Congolese provinces of Ituri, North Kivu and South Kivu, where armed groups and government forces have been accused of war crimes and other violations.
Thursday and Friday, the council will act on decisions and resolutions and conclude the 43rd session. The 44th session, originally scheduled to begin Monday, will instead open a week later on June 22. The 45th session is scheduled for September.
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