By Charlene Muhammad
The U.S. was recently condemned by a United Nations body for human rights failures, particularly with regard to racism and police murders of Black men and boys. Activists, however, aren’t holding their breath waiting for the world super power to correct her wrongs.
America’s condemnation came via the Universal Periodic Review held every four years by the United Nations Human Rights Council. Each of the UN’s 193 member states are required to submit to a review of human rights obligations and commitments.
More than 100 international leaders raised concerns about U.S. human rights violations tied to police brutality, the death penalty, and the torture of Guantanamo Bay prisoners.
The council’s report included 348 recommendations dealing with human rights violations, according to an American Civil Liberties expert. The ACLU participated in the UN review process.
Jamil Dakwar, director of the ACLU Human Rights Program, said, “the report included many fitting recommendations to address police brutality and excessive use of force as well as ending racial profiling against minorities and immigrants.” “Mexico recommended that the U.S. ‘adopt measures at the federal level to prevent and punish excessive use of force by law enforcement officials against members of ethnic and racial minorities, including unarmed persons, which disproportionately affect Afro American and undocumented migrants,’ ” he wrote on the ACLU website.
Ireland called for the U.S. to “continue to vigorously investigate recent cases of alleged police-led human rights abuses against African-Americans and seek to build improved relations and trust between U.S. law enforcement and all communities around the U.S.,” he added.
The UN report called on the Obama administration to independently investigate allegations of torture in the war on terror and provide reparations for victims with as “full rehabilitation as possible, including medical and psychological assistance.”
“Chad considers the United States of America to be a country of freedom, but recent events targeting Black sectors of society have tarnished its image,” said Awada Angui of the UN delegation to Chad.
“This report sends a strong message of no-confidence in the U.S. human rights record. It clearly demonstrates that the United States has a long way to go to live up to its human rights obligations and commitments. This will be the last major human rights review for the Obama administration, and it offers a critical opportunity to shape the president’s human rights legacy, especially in the areas of racial justice, national security, and immigrants’ rights,” said the ACLU official.