United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet issued a report Monday detailing a comprehensive plan for countries to combat alleged systemic racism, including reparations and police reform.
The report recommends the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council establish a “specific, time-bound mechanism” to secure and advance racial justice, according to a statement from Bachelet on Monday. The report was mandated by the UN Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner after the killing of George Floyd in June 2020.
Though the report focuses on police violence against black Americans, it recommends all countries make “amends for centuries of violence and discrimination” against people of African descent.
“States must show stronger political will to accelerate action for racial justice, redress and equality through specific, time-bound commitments to achieve results,” Bachelet said in the statement. “This will involve reimagining policing, and reforming the criminal justice system, which have consistently produced discriminatory outcomes for people of African descent.”
The report was based on 23 online consultations with approximately 340 people, most of whom were of African descent, on their experiences dealing with racism and law enforcement, according to the study. Researchers also consulted over 110 written contributions from member states, and spoke with experts and reviewed “publicly available material” to arrive at their conclusions. (RELATED: Chicago Suburb Approves Plan To Give Reparations To Black Residents)
UN Human Rights Chief @mbachelet urges immediate, transformative action to uproot systemic racism in new report casting a spotlight on violations of economic, social, cultural, civil & political rights suffered by people of #AfricanDescent ???? https://t.co/nYLi1Dqj4r#FightRacism pic.twitter.com/RobMCs79CY
— UN Human Rights (@UNHumanRights) June 28, 2021
The report recommends countries implement “limited forms of reparations, including memorializations, acknowledgments, apologies and litigation.”
“Reparations should not only be equated with financial compensation,” the report read. “They also comprise measures aimed at restitution, rehabilitation, satisfaction and guarantees of non-repetition.”
The study also advocates for police reforms, such as recommending police not use “military weapons” for policing “assemblies”, and that plain clothes officers wear identification. It also asks law enforcement to improve their communication with black communities under a sub-heading entitled “LISTEN UP: People of African descent must be heard.”
“Several families described to me the agony they faced in pursuing truth, justice and redress – and the distressing presumption that their loved ones somehow ‘deserved it,’” Bachelet said in the statement. “It is disheartening that the system is not stepping up to support them. This must change.”
Bachelet went on to commend the Black Lives Matter movement for providing “grassroots leadership through listening to communities.”
“They are also providing people with the necessary agency and empowerment that enables them to claim their human rights,” Bachelet said. “Such efforts should receive funding, public recognition and support.”
California established a task force to investigate reparations for Black Americans earlier this month, while House Democrats are considering a bill that would establish a commission to examine the history of slavery and its effects.
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