UN human rights chief calls for 'urgent and profound action to combat systemic racism' in US

UN human rights chief calls for 'urgent and profound action to combat systemic racism' in US
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The United Nations human rights chief called on Monday for “urgent and profound action to combat systemic racism” in the U.S. during her opening speech for the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, the former president of Chile, said commitments for change across the U.S. after George Floyd’s May death in Minneapolis police custody “need to be matched by real change to create an environment in which African Americans feel they are protected by law enforcement and the state,” The Associated Press reported

She highlighted the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis., last month and the fatal restraining of Daniel Prude in Rochester, N.Y., earlier this year. Bachelet said the lack of accountability “for many prior killings underscores the gravity of this crisis."

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Her speech, which covered human rights issues in several countries, launched the council’s three-week session. Bachelet said officials would address a resolution passed in June funding a report on systemic racism and discrimination against Black people later in the session. 

Bachelet also discussed a potential trip to China’s Xinjiang region, which has been under scrutiny for the government treatment of ethnic Uighurs there in alleged concentration camps.  

“My Office continues to engage with the Chinese Government on the situation in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and the impact on human rights of its policies,” she said, according to Reuters

The high commissioner summoned Hong Kong officials to keep track of the enforcement of China’s new national security law, for which at least two dozen people have been charged for since early July, and its impact on human rights. 

Bachelet also addressed concerns about human rights in Myanmar, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Poland and Colombia. She called Israel’s blockade of Gaza illegal under international law and unproductive to ultimately achieving peace in the region, according to the AP.