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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Legacy of slavery affects US Black people daily: UN experts

The UN team of independent experts was created after the death in 2020 of George Floyd, a Black man, at the hands of a white Minnesota police officer.

UN experts on racism on Friday highlighted the exhaustion of the Black community at the end of a visit to the United States, where the legacy of slavery must be addressed by authorities “at all levels.”

The UN team of independent experts was created after the death in 2020 of George Floyd, a Black man, at the hands of a white Minnesota police officer.

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Over 12 days, they met with victims, civil society figures, the judiciary, police unions, federal and local officials, in Washington, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago, Minneapolis and New York.

“In the US, racial inequity dates back to the very creation of this country. And there’ll be no quick fixes,” one of the team members, Tracie Keesee, said at a news conference.

Keesee said conditions call “for comprehensive reform and strong leadership at all levels” to deal with the “deep entrenched legacy” in the daily lives of people of African descent.

“To this day, racial discrimination permeates through encounters with law enforcement from first contact, arrest, detention, sentencing and disenfranchisement,” she said.

Interviews by the UN team highlighted that “the exhaustion of being Black is present in the daily lives.”

Black officers also spoke of “the stress of being Black in America.”

The team is formally known as the International Independent Expert Mechanism to Advance Racial Justice and Equality in the Context of Law Enforcement.

While a more in-depth report will emerge from the UN team, in an initial statement the experts hailed “various promising initiatives, including at the state level, that authorities have developed to combat racial discrimination.”

The statement noted “an urgency, and a moral responsibility, to echo the harrowing pain of victims and their resounding calls for accountability and support.”

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The mechanism was created by the UN Human Rights Council in 2021, a year after the murder of Floyd, to investigate accusations of racially motivated police violence around the world.