U.N. report calls on nations to act to 'uproot' lingering systemic racism worldwide

Activists march toward Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, D.C., on June 25, 2020, on the one-month anniversary of Floyd's death. File Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI
1 of 5 | Activists march toward Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, D.C., on June 25, 2020, on the one-month anniversary of Floyd's death. File Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI | License Photo

June 28 (UPI) -- Pointing to the police-involved deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others, the United Nations human rights office issued a report Monday that calls on governments to "uproot systemic racism" worldwide.

The 23-page report, led by Commissioner Michelle Bachelet, focused on what it called a "litany of violations of economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights" against Black people worldwide and said they warrant international attention.


"The status quo is untenable," Bachelet said in a statement. "Systemic racism needs a systemic response.

"There needs to be a comprehensive rather than a piecemeal approach to dismantling systems entrenched in centuries of discrimination and violence. We need a transformative approach that tackles the interconnected areas that drive racism, and lead to repeated, wholly avoidable, tragedies like the death of George Floyd."

The human rights office began producing the comprehensive report last year amid the global response to Floyd's death. The office said it consulted with 340 people and received more than 110 written responses.

The report highlights "stark socioeconomic and political marginalization" against those of African descent in many U.N. member countries.


"Across numerous countries, most notably in North and South America and in Europe, people of African descent disproportionately live in poverty and face serious barriers in accessing their rights to education, healthcare, employment, adequate housing and clean water, as well as to political participation, and other fundamental human rights," the global body said.

The human rights office said it found that African people and those of African descent have often been victims of over-policing for minor offenses, traffic stops and stop-and-searches, mental health crises and drug- or gang-related operations.

"In many of the cases examined, the information shared indicates that the victims did not appear to pose an imminent threat of death or serious injury to law enforcement officials, or to the public, that would justify the level of force used," it said.

The report recommends strengthening mechanisms of the U.N. Human Rights Council to advance racial justice and equality in law enforcement and addressing lingering legacies of the transatlantic slave trade and colonialism.

"The murder of George Floyd ... and the ensuing mass protests worldwide have marked a watershed in the fight against racism," the report states. "In some countries, there is now broader acknowledgment of the systemic nature of the racism that affects the lives of Africans and people of African descent and of the need to address the past in order to secure future conditions of life that uphold the dignity and rights of all. It is our collective duty to address these issues -- immediately and everywhere."


Protesters march for social justice

The Surrogate's Court building exterior remains vandalized while Occupy City Hall protests continue outside City Hall in New York City on June 30. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

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