BACHELET / SYSTEMIC RACISM

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28-Jun-2021 00:01:51
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet issued an urgent call for States to adopt a “transformative agenda” to uproot systemic racism, as she published a report casting a spotlight on the litany of violations of economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights suffered by people of African descent – on a daily basis and across different States and jurisdictions. OHCHR

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STORY: BACHELET / SYSTEMIC RACISM
TRT: 1:51
SOURCE: OHCHR
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH /NATS

DATELINE: 28 JUNE 2021 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

SHOTLIST:

FILE

1.Aerial shot, Palais Wilson

28 JUNE 2021 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

2.SOUNDBITE (English): Michelle Bachelet UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: “The status quo is untenable. Systemic racism needs a systemic response. We need a transformative approach that tackles the interconnected areas that drive racism, and lead to repeated, wholly avoidable, tragedies like the death of George Floyd. 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.”

FILE

3.Aerial shot, Palais Wilson

28 JUNE 2021 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

4.SOUNDBITE (English): Michelle Bachelet UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:
“We examined deaths at the hands of law enforcement officials in different countries with varying legal systems and found striking similarities and patterns. Several families described to me the agony they faced in pursuing truth, justice and redress – and the distressing presumption that their loved ones somehow ‘deserved it’. It is disheartening that the system is not stepping up to support them. This must change.”

FILE

5.Aerial shot, Palais Wilson

28 JUNE 2021 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

6.SOUNDBITE (English): Michelle Bachelet UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:
“States must show stronger political will to accelerate action for racial justice, redress and equality through specific, time-bound commitments to achieve results. This will involve reimagining policing, and reforming the criminal justice system, which have consistently produced discriminatory outcomes for people of African descent. Only approaches that tackle both the endemic shortcomings in law enforcement, and address systemic racism – and the legacies it is built on – will do justice to the memory of George Floyd and so many others whose lives have been lost or irreparably damaged.”

FILE

7.Aerial shot, Palais Wilson



STORYLINE:

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Monday issued an urgent call for States to adopt a “transformative agenda” to uproot systemic racism, as she published a report casting a spotlight on the litany of violations of economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights suffered by people of African descent – on a daily basis and across different States and jurisdictions.

The report states that the worldwide mobilization of people calling for racial justice has forced a long-delayed reckoning with racism and shifted debates towards a focus on the systemic nature of racism and the institutions that perpetrate it.

“The status quo is untenable. Systemic racism needs a systemic response,” Bachelet said in a video message following the publication of report. “We need a transformative approach that tackles the interconnected areas that drive racism, and lead to repeated, wholly avoidable, tragedies like the death of George Floyd.”

The UN Human Rights Office was mandated in June 2020 by Human Rights Council resolution 43/1 – in the wake of the murder of George Floyd in the United States – to produce a comprehensive report on systemic racism, violations of international human rights law against Africans and people of African descent by law enforcement agencies, government responses to anti-racism peaceful protests, as well as accountability and redress for victims.

“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 details the “compounding inequalities” and “stark socioeconomic and political marginalization” that afflict people of African descent in many States. Across numerous countries, most notably in North and South America and in Europe, people of African descent disproportionately live-in poverty and face serious barriers in accessing their rights to education, healthcare, employment, adequate housing and clean water, as well as to political participation, and other fundamental human rights.

SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: “We examined deaths at the hands of law enforcement officials in different countries with varying legal systems, and found striking similarities and patterns.”

The report sets out three key contexts in which police-related fatalities have occurred most frequently: the policing of minor offences, traffic stops and stop-and-searches; the intervention of law enforcement officials as first responders in mental health crises; and the conduct of special police operations in the context of the “war on drugs” or gang-related operations. In many of the cases examined, the information shared indicates that the victims did not appear to pose an imminent threat of death or serious injury to law enforcement officials, or to the public, that would justify the level of force used.

The analysis carried out by the Office is based on online consultations with over 340 individuals, mostly of African descent; over 110 written contributions, including with States; on a review of publicly available material; and on additional consultations with relevant experts.

The High Commissioner’s analysis of 190 deaths demonstrated that law enforcement officers are rarely held accountable for human rights violations and crimes against people of African descent, due in part to deficient investigations, a lack of independent and robust oversight and complaint and accountability mechanisms, and a widespread “presumption of guilt” against people of African descent. With rare exceptions, investigations, prosecutions, trials and judicial decisions fail to consider the role that racial discrimination, stereotypes and institutional bias may have played in the deaths. Seven illustrative cases were particularly closely examined: Luana Barbosa dos Reis Santos and João Pedro Matos Pinto (Brazil); George Floyd and Breonna Taylor (United States); Kevin Clarke (United Kingdom); Janner (Hanner) García Palomino (Colombia) and Adama Traoré (France).

SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: “Several families described to me the agony they faced in pursuing truth, justice and redress – and the distressing presumption that their loved ones somehow ‘deserved it’. It is disheartening that the system is not stepping up to support them. This must change.”

The High Commissioner’s recommendations included that the Human Rights Council either establish a specific, time-bound mechanism, or strengthen an existing mechanism to advance racial justice and equality in the context of law enforcement in all parts of the world.

While the report highlights some promising local, national and regional initiatives to undertake truth-seeking and limited forms of reparations, including memorialization, acknowledgements, apologies and litigation, “no State has comprehensively accounted for the past or for the current impact of systemic racism.” Instead, there remains a pervasive failure to acknowledge the existence and impact of systemic racism and its linkages with enslavement and colonialism.

SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: “States must show stronger political will to accelerate action for racial justice, redress and equality through specific, time-bound commitments to achieve results. This will involve reimagining policing, and reforming the criminal justice system, which have consistently produced discriminatory outcomes for people of African descent.”

The High Commissioner called upon all States to adopt “whole-of-government” and “whole-of-society” reforms and responses, through adequately resourced national and regional action plans and concrete measures developed through national dialogues, with the meaningful participation and representation of people of African descent.

“Only approaches that tackle both the endemic shortcomings in law enforcement, and address systemic racism – and the legacies it is built on – will do justice to the memory of George Floyd and so many others whose lives have been lost or irreparably damaged,” Bachelet said.
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