Human rights experts cite "deep concerns" over US race cases

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A general view of the Human Rights Council in session. Photo: Jean-Marc Ferré

No less than five senior human rights experts have rounded on the United States after the decision not to bring to trial the cases of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.

They've cited "deep concerns over the broader pattern" of these judicial decisions after Mr Garner, an African-American, died when a police officer put him into a chokehold.

Mr Garner's death happened a month before the fatal shooting by police of black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, last August.

The police officer involved was also not prosecuted, leading to high tension and rioting.

The human rights experts' comments come after  High Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein spoke of a "deep and festering lack of confidence" in the US justice system.

Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, urged the US to do more at a press briefing in Geneva on Friday:

"The High Commissioner last week said that it is clear that at least among some sectors of the population in the US, there is I'll quote him a 'deep and festering lack of confidence' in the fairness of the justice and law enforcement system. So we urge the US authorities to seize this opportunity to really conduct in-depth investigations."  (19″)

Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues Rita Izsak said she was worried by the "apparent conflicting evidence" from both incidents.

In addition, Special Rapporteur on racism Mutama Ruteere said that African-Americans were 10 times more likely to be stopped by police than white people and "such practices should be eradicated".

The five-strong group also includes Special Rapporteurs Christof Heyns, Maina Kiai and Mireille Fanon Mendes France.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations

Duration: 1"38


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