OHCHR / SYSTEMIC RACISM PRESSER

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28-Jun-2021 00:04:46
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, according to a new UN Human Rights Office’s report. UNTV CH

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STORY: OHCHR / SYSTEMIC RACISM PRESSER
TRT: 04:45
SOURCE: UNTV CH
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LANGUAGE: ENGLISH /NATS

DATELINE: 28 JUNE 2021 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND.

SHOTLIST

1.Exterior shot, Palais des Nations, alley of flags
2.Wide shot, podium room 18 in Palais des Nations
3.SOUNDBITE (English) Peggy Hicks, Director of Thematic Engagement, OHCHR:
“The murder of George Floyd a little more than a year ago was a moment of reckoning, not only in the United States, but in the many countries across the globe where protests took place, and also here in Geneva. The Human Rights Council held an urgent debate and took action. It adopted a far-reaching resolution that included a request for the High Commissioner for Human Rights to prepare a report addressing systemic racism and human rights violations by law enforcement officials, especially those incidents that resulted in the death of George Floyd and other Africans and people of African descent, and asked her to look as well at government responses to peaceful protests against racism. The Council was clear that the purpose of this work was intended “to contribute to accountability and redress for victims.”
4.Wide shot, room 18 - cameras
5.SOUNDBITE (English) Peggy Hicks, Director of Thematic Engagement, OHCHR:
“The report includes a transformative agenda that contains the building blocks for real progress. That agenda has four pillars, and without any one of those pillars, we will not succeed. We need to step up, pursue justice, listen up, and redress.”
6.Med shot podium cameras
7.SOUNDBITE (English) Peggy Hicks, Director of Thematic Engagement, OHCHR:
“The call for redress insists that a future of racial justice cannot be built on a foundation of unrecognized and unanswered pain, suffering and discrimination. It requires that we confront the legacies of slavery and repair the harms done, including through reparations in a variety of forms.”
8.Cutaway camera screen speaker
9.SOUNDBITE (English) Sara Hamood, Team Leader, Racial Justice Team, OHCHR:
“In particular, we listened attentively to family members of people of African descent killed by law enforcement officials from different countries – and the High Commissioner met personally with several family members. The lived experiences of people and communities of African descent were central to our analysis and shaped the recommendations for ways to achieve transformative change.”
10.Cutaway cameras
11.SOUNDBITE (English) Sara Hamood, Team Leader, Racial Justice Team, OHCHR:
“A challenge we faced was the lack of comprehensive official data disaggregated by race or ethnic origin. That said, where official data was unavailable, we turned to the work of regional bodies, civil society organizations, the media, universities and think-tanks who have sought to fill the gap.”
12.Cutaway participant computer
13.SOUNDBITE (English) Mona Rishmawi Chief, Rule of Law, Equality and Non-Discrimination Branch, OHCHR:
“We realized that a main part of the problem is that many people believe the misconceptions that the abolition of slavery, the end of the transatlantic trade and colonialism have removed the racially discriminatory structures built by those practices. We found that this is not true. As a result, states have not paid adequate attention to the negative impact of policies on certain populations and have not paid adequate attention to the conscious and unconscious biases suffered by people of African descent. But for people of African descent though, the legacies of these practices are part of their daily reality of dehumanization, marginalization and denial of rights.”
14.Cutaway journalists
15.SOUNDBITE (English) Mona Rishmawi Chief, Rule of Law, Equality and Non-Discrimination Branch, OHCHR:
“We therefore looked into how the legacies of enslavement, and the transatlantic trade in enslaved Africans and colonialism have been confronted and how the demands for reparatory justice have been met.”
16.Cutaway, camera screen speaker
17.SOUNDBITE (English) Mona Rishmawi Chief, Rule of Law, Equality and Non-Discrimination Branch, OHCHR:
“Our message therefore is that this situation is untenable. States must reverse the cultures of denial, dismantle systemic racism, and accelerate the pace of action. States must also confront the legacies, including through accountability and redress.”
18.Cutaway photographer on computer
19.SOUNDBITE (English) Mona Rishmawi Chief, Rule of Law, Equality and Non-Discrimination Branch, OHCHR:
“Here we found worrying trends of associating Blackness with criminality and other biases that shape the interactions of people of African descent with law enforcement and the criminal justice system.“
20.Med shot cameras

STORYLINE:

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, according to a new UN Human Rights Office’s report.

In Geneva, a press briefing on the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to the Human Rights Council on systemic racism and human rights violations by law enforcement officials, by: Peggy Hicks, Director of Thematic Engagement; Mona Rishmawi, Chief, Rule of Law, Equality and Non-Discrimination Branch; and Sara Hamood, Team Leader, Racial Justice Team.

The High Commissioner will formally present the report to the Human Rights Council on 12 July, and engage in a dialogue with States and civil society at that time.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Monday 28 June, 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.

SOUNDBITE (English) Peggy Hicks, Director of Thematic Engagement, OHCHR:
“The murder of George Floyd a little more than a year ago was a moment of reckoning, not only in the United States, but in the many countries across the globe where protests took place, and also here in Geneva. The Human Rights Council held an urgent debate and took action. It adopted a far-reaching resolution that included a request for the High Commissioner for Human Rights to prepare a report addressing systemic racism and human rights violations by law enforcement officials, especially those incidents that resulted in the death of George Floyd and other Africans and people of African descent, and asked her to look as well at government responses to peaceful protests against racism. The Council was clear that the purpose of this work was intended “to contribute to accountability and redress for victims.”

Central to the report was the UN Human rights commitment to not just repeat existing recommendations, but to find a way to point to a road forward that would be meaningful and that would help ensure that the current moment of increased attention on racial discrimination is not squandered.

SOUNDBITE (English) Peggy Hicks, Director of Thematic Engagement, OHCHR:
“The report includes a transformative agenda that contains the building blocks for real progress. That agenda has four pillars, and without any one of those pillars, we will not succeed. We need to step up, pursue justice, listen up, and redress.”

The call to “step up” demands that we stop denying and start dismantling systemic racism, recognizing that any hope of success depends on comprehensive, not piecemeal approaches to alter structures, institutions and behaviours that contribute to discrimination against Africans and people of African descent in every part of life.

The call to “pursue justice” takes up the appalling toll of Black people dying as a result of law enforcement actions, and suggests five fundamental steps to end that haemorrhage of unnecessary loss, including reimagining policing.

The call to “listen up” underscores the indispensable role that Black people need to play in finding these solutions, and the critical need to celebrate that work and recognize that peaceful protests are an essential force for change.

SOUNDBITE (English) Peggy Hicks, Director of Thematic Engagement, OHCHR:
“The call for redress insists that a future of racial justice cannot be built on a foundation of unrecognized and unanswered pain, suffering and discrimination. It requires that we confront the legacies of slavery and repair the harms done, including through reparations in a variety of forms.”

As part of the process for the report, Sara Hamood stated that they held 23 online consultations with over 340 people, mostly people of African descent, including many women. In these consultations, they also heard from people working across different disciplines and sectors who helped to strengthen their understanding and analysis of the major themes outlined in the Human Rights Council resolution, and to unpack how these issues play out in their countries and regions.

SOUNDBITE (English) Sara Hamood, Team Leader, Racial Justice Team, OHCHR:
“In particular, we listened attentively to family members of people of African descent killed by law enforcement officials from different countries – and the High Commissioner met personally with several family members. The lived experiences of people and communities of African descent were central to our analysis and shaped the recommendations for ways to achieve transformative change.”

Over 110 written contributions were also received in response to a detailed call for submissions that we addressed to States and other stakeholders. They built on the decades of research, analysis, and recommendations on these issues, including by the UN and regional human rights mechanisms – as well as public reports by UN agencies and programmes, and civil society.

Sara Hamood, Team Leader, Racial Justice Team stated that despite this wealth of information, getting data was a challenge.

SOUNDBITE (English) Sara Hamood, Team Leader, Racial Justice Team, OHCHR:
“A challenge we faced was the lack of comprehensive official data disaggregated by race or ethnic origin. That said, where official data was unavailable, we turned to the work of regional bodies, civil society organizations, the media, universities and think-tanks who have sought to fill the gap.”

When they started analysing the data they gathered, and listening to lived experience of people of African Descent, Mona Rishmawi Chief, Rule of Law, Equality and Non-Discrimination Branch, stated:

SOUNDBITE (English) Mona Rishmawi Chief, Rule of Law, Equality and Non-Discrimination Branch, OHCHR:
“We realized that a main part of the problem is that many people believe the misconceptions that the abolition of slavery, the end of the transatlantic trade and colonialism have removed the racially discriminatory structures built by those practices. We found that this is not true. As a result, states have not paid adequate attention to the negative impact of policies on certain populations and have not paid adequate attention to the conscious and unconscious biases suffered by people of African descent. But for people of African descent though, the legacies of these practices are part of their daily reality of dehumanization, marginalization and denial of rights.”

According to the report people of African descent, are more likely to suffer high unemployment rates, earn lower wages, have poorer education and health outcomes, occupy less-skilled positions and are underrepresented in management positions. They are more likely to lack access to adequate housing, and to live in segregated, disadvantaged and hazardous neighbourhoods. Insufficient meaningful participation in decision-making processes and in public life create a vicious circle.

Women of African descent face multiple forms of discrimination arising from their racial or ethnic origin combined with gender-based discrimination and harmful gender stereotypes. The stereotyping of people of African descent often starts in childhood and leads, for instance, to directing them to educational paths that limit their access to higher education.

SOUNDBITE (English) Mona Rishmawi Chief, Rule of Law, Equality and Non-Discrimination Branch, OHCHR:
“We therefore looked into how the legacies of enslavement, and the transatlantic trade in enslaved Africans and colonialism have been confronted and how the demands for reparatory justice have been met.”

SOUNDBITE (English) Mona Rishmawi Chief, Rule of Law, Equality and Non-Discrimination Branch, OHCHR:
“Our message therefore is that this situation is untenable. States must reverse the cultures of denial, dismantle systemic racism, and accelerate the pace of action. States must also confront the legacies, including through accountability and redress.”

Regarding the action of law enforcement, the focus is on the experience of people of African Descent with law enforcement:

SOUNDBITE (English) Mona Rishmawi Chief, Rule of Law, Equality and Non-Discrimination Branch, OHCHR:
“Here we found worrying trends of associating Blackness with criminality and other biases that shape the interactions of people of African descent with law enforcement and the criminal justice system.“

Their research shows that in a number of States, people of African descent are particularly vulnerable to racial profiling, notably as a basis for discriminatory identity checks, stops-and-searches, arrests and related abuses – also to violence, including serious injury and deaths.

For this report they collected information about more than 190 cases of deaths at the hands of law enforcement officials in different countries. And found striking similarities and patterns – including in the hurdles families face in accessing justice.

Three key contexts in which police-related fatalities stand out: 1) the policing of minor offences, traffic stops and stop-and-search activities; 2) the intervention of law enforcement officials as first responders to mental health crises – and this is particularly troubling; and 3) the conduct of special police operations in the context of the ‘war on drugs’ or gang-related operations.

SOUNDBITE (English) Mona Rishmawi Chief, Rule of Law, Equality and Non-Discrimination Branch, OHCHR:
“And I remember one mother in particular said to me, said to us actually, she said. You always talk about George Floyd every day we have a George Floyd here and nobody talks about it. Nobody talks about these cases. So it really marked us quite a bit. So what we started looking more and more, of where are the George Floyds of this world”

In the report, they presented seven cases that illustrate these patterns: The cases of George Floyd, killed on 25 May 2020, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, Adama Traoré, killed on 19 July 2016, in Persan, France and Luana Barbosa dos Reis Santos, killed on 8 April 2016, in São Paulo, Brazil. These cases illustrate the context of policing of minor offences, traffic stops, and stops-and-searches. The case of Kevin Clarke, killed on 9 March 2018, in London, United Kingdom. It illustrates the context of law enforcement coming as first responders in mental health cases. The cases of Breonna Taylor, killed on 13 March 2020, in Louisville, Kentucky, USA, João Pedro Matos Pinto, 14 years old, killed on 18 May 2020, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Janner García Palomino, killed on 20 April 2020 in Cauca, Colombia. They illustrate the context of special police operations.
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