Story at a glance

  • The global report released Monday by U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet offers a series of recommendations to work to end racial injustice, seek punishment for human rights violations by police and hold institutions accountable for past wrongdoings.
  • “I am calling on all states to stop denying — and start dismantling — racism; to end impunity and build trust; to listen to the voices of people of African descent; and to confront past legacies and deliver redress,” Bachelet said.
  • The report encourages reparations to “make amends for centuries of violence and discrimination.”

The United Nations (U.N.) is urging the U.S. and other member states to do more to end discrimination, violence and systemic racism against people of African descent as part of a landmark report prompted by the police killing of George Floyd. 

The global report released Monday by U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet offers a series of recommendations to work to end racial injustice, seek punishment for human rights violations by police and hold institutions accountable for past wrongdoings. 


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“The status quo is untenable,” Bachelet said in a statement.

“I am calling on all states to stop denying — and start dismantling — racism; to end impunity and build trust; to listen to the voices of people of African descent; and to confront past legacies and deliver redress,” Bachelet said. 

The report collected information on more than 190 cases, mostly in the U.S., where people died in police custody around the world and found law enforcement officers are rarely held accountable for human rights violations and crimes against Black people. 

That’s due in part to deficient investigations, a lack of independent and robust oversight accountability mechanisms and a widespread “presumption of guilt” against people of African descent. 

Racism and racial discrimination against Africans appears to be more prevalent in countries with a legacy of slavery and colonialism that resulted in sizable communities of Black people, according to the report. 

The U.N. report called on member states to “make amends for centuries of violence and discrimination through wide-ranging and meaningful initiative, within and across States, including through formal acknowledgement and apologies, truth-telling process, and reparations in various forms.” 


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The report said reparations should not only be equated with financial compensation but should include restitution, rehabilitation, acknowledgement of injustices, apologies, memorialization and institutional and educational reforms. 

The Human Rights Council commissioned the report last year following Floyd’s murder. 

Floyd died in May 2020 after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for more than nine minutes. Chauvin was sentenced to more than 22 years in prison last week. 


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Published on Jun 28, 2021