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Families call for UN probe into police violence against Black Americans

Families call for UN probe into police violence against Black Americans
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The families of more than a hundred victims of U.S. police brutality on Monday called on the United Nations to set up an investigation into police violence against Black Americans.

Family members of 165 victims signed a letter sent to U.N. high commissioner for human rights Michelle Bachelet, The Guardian reports. They called for an “independent inquiry into the killings and violent law enforcement responses to protests in the US."

The families are backed by more than 250 civil society and human rights groups, including the Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the American Civil Liberties Union.

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The families of George Floyd, Michael Brown and Daunte Wright were among those who signed the letter.

"We believe that a robust international accountability mechanism would further support and complement, not undermine, efforts to dismantle systemic racism in the United States, especially in the context of police violence against people of African descent," the letter reads.

The Guardian notes that this letter comes two weeks after an alliance of human rights lawyers from 11 countries accused the U.S. of crimes against humanity for allowing law enforcement officers to kill and torture African Americans with little to no repercussions.

The report from the lawyers found the U.S. frequently violates international laws by allowing “severe deprivation of physical liberty, torture, persecution and other inhuman acts."

The U.N. has so far resisted efforts to draw it into the U.S.'s ongoing reckoning with police brutality.

Last year, the family of Floyd sent a letter to the U.N. requesting recommendations on police reform in the U.S.

“When a group of people of any nation have been systemically deprived of their universal human right to life by its government for decades, it must appeal to the international community for its support and to the United Nations for its intervention,” Ben Crump, the attorney for Floyd's family, said in a statement at the time.

The families of Brown, Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Philando Castile also sent a letter to the U.N. Human Rights Council last year calling on the body to convene a special session to respond to what it called a "human rights crisis" in the U.S.