OHCHR / SYSTEMIC RACISM

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12-Jul-2021 00:05:56
UN Human Rights Chief Michelle Bachelet urged all countries to “draw upon the great body of international obligations and commitments and to demonstrate much stronger political will to accelerate action for racial justice and equality.” UNTV CH

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STORY: OHCHR / SYSTEMIC RACISM
TRT: 5:56
SOURCE: UNTV CH
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LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 12 JULY 2021, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

SHOTLIST:

12 JULY 2021, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

1. Wide shot, Palais des Nations exterior
2. Wide shot, Bachelet walking to dais
3. Wide shot, dais
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights:
“I met and listened to family members of people of African descent killed by law enforcement officials. Online consultations with over 340 people, mostly of African descent were central to our analysis. These deep conversations, together with over 110 written submissions received from States and other stakeholders, shaped our analysis and recommendations for ways to achieve transformative change and end profound injustices, inflicted for generations.”
5. Med shot, participants
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights:
“This is a story that begins in early childhood. Wherever data is available, it shows that children of African descent are often subjected to racial discrimination in schools, suffer poorer educational outcomes, and at times are treated as criminals from an early age. In some States, people of African descent are more likely to live in poverty, earn lower wages, occupy less-skilled positions, and face unequal access to adequate housing and quality healthcare.”
7. Med shot, participants
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights:
“These obstacles are compounded by the insufficient participation and representation of people of African descent in decision-making and public life. Systemic racism is further heightened by intersectionality, with women of African descent, in particular, forced to endure multiple forms of discrimination.”
9. Med shot, participants being seated
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights:
“In the area of law enforcement, the report focuses on lethal incidents where there has been a strikingly consistent failure to see justice done. It emphasises the disproportionately adverse outcomes for people of African descent who come in contact with law enforcement. And it explains how disproportionate stops – including on the basis of racial profiling - result in disproportionate arrests and incarceration and harsher sentencing, including disproportionate imposition of the death penalty.”
11. Med shot, Representative of the Bahamas
12. SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights:
“Overall, despite varying legal systems, certain practices, patterns, and challenges appeared similar, including the recurrence of racial bias, stereotypes and profiling. Harmful and degrading associations of Blackness with criminality appear to shape interactions of people of African descent with law enforcement and criminal justice. Three key contexts in which police-related fatalities stood out: 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 special police operations in the context of the ‘war on drugs’ or gang-related operations.”
13. Med shot, participant
14. SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights:
“Our report also examines Government responses to peaceful anti-racism protests. We found credible allegations of unnecessary and disproportionate use of force against some protests, and differences in how racial justice protests were policed compared with other demonstrations. The clampdown on anti-racism protests in some countries should be seen within a broader context in which the voices of people of African descent, and people combatting racism, are stifled, and human rights defenders of African descent face reprisals, including harassment, threats, criminal prosecutions, violence and killings.”
15. Wide shot, translation booth
16. SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights:
“In light of these profound and wide-ranging injustices, there is an urgent need to confront the legacies of enslavement, the transatlantic slave trade, colonialism and successive racially discriminatory policies and systems, and to seek reparatory justice. Despite some initiatives towards truth-seeking, and limited forms of reparations -- including memorialization, acknowledgements, apologies and litigation, our research could not find a single example of a State that has comprehensively reckoned with the past or accounted for its impacts on the lives of people of African descent today.”
17. Wide shot, Bachelet at dais
18. SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights:
“The final pillar of this transformative agenda recommends that States create, reinforce and fully fund comprehensive processes – with full participation of affected communities - to share the truth about what was done, and the harms it continues to inflict. Establishing the truth about these legacies, and their impact today, and taking steps to address these harms through a wide range of reparations measures is crucial to healing our societies and providing justice for terrible crimes. Measures taken to address the past will transform our future. I urge all States to draw upon the great body of international obligations and commitments and to demonstrate much stronger political will to accelerate action for racial justice and equality.”
19. Med shot, participants
20. SOUNDBITE (English): Michelle Bachelet UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: “I call on States to translate this agenda into action plans and concrete measures, which should be developed through national dialogues and with the meaningful participation of people of African descent, to address the specific histories and current realities in each State.”
21. Wide shot, Bachelet at dais

STORYLINE:

UN Human Rights Chief Michelle Bachelet urged all countries to “draw upon the great body of international obligations and commitments and to demonstrate much stronger political will to accelerate action for racial justice and equality.”

The High Commissioner was speaking today (12 Jul) as she presented to the Human Rights Council her Office's report on promotion and protection of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of Africans and of people of African descent against excessive use of force and other human rights violations by law enforcement officers.

The report presents recommendations for ways to achieve transformative change and end profound injustices, inflicted for generations.

Bachelet said she met and listened to family members of people of African descent killed by law enforcement officials. She added, “Online consultations with over 340 people, mostly of African descent were central to our analysis. These deep conversations, together with over 110 written submissions received from States and other stakeholders, shaped our analysis and recommendations for ways to achieve transformative change and end profound injustices, inflicted for generations.”

The report examines how systemic racism against Africans and people of African descent affects their rights in all areas of life, compounding inequalities, marginalization and deepening their unequal access to opportunities, resources and power.

Bachelet said, “This is a story that begins in early childhood. Wherever data is available, it shows that children of African descent are often subjected to racial discrimination in schools, suffer poorer educational outcomes, and at times are treated as criminals from an early age.”

The High Commissioner people of African descent are more likely to live in poverty, earn lower wages, occupy less-skilled positions, and face unequal access to adequate housing and quality healthcare in some countries.

She said these obstacles are compounded by the “insufficient participation and representation of people of African descent in decision-making and public life,” and stressed that systemic racism is “further heightened by intersectionality, with women of African descent, in particular, forced to endure multiple forms of discrimination.”

Bachelet noted that in the area of law enforcement, the report focused on lethal incidents where there has been “a strikingly consistent failure to see justice done. It emphasises the disproportionately adverse outcomes for people of African descent who come in contact with law enforcement. And it explains how disproportionate stops – including on the basis of racial profiling - result in disproportionate arrests and incarceration and harsher sentencing, including disproportionate imposition of the death penalty.”

The UN Human Rights Office received information about at least 190 deaths of Africans and people of African descent at the hands of law enforcement officials, 98 per cent of which took place in Europe, Latin America and North America. In addition, the Office closely examined seven emblematic incidents of deaths of Africans and people of African descent in contact with law enforcement officials, including George Floyd and Breonna Taylor in the United States of America; Adama Traoré in France; Luana Barbosa dos Reis Santos and João Pedro Mattos Pinto in Brazil; Kevin Clarke in the United Kingdom; and Janner García Palomino in Colombia.

Bachelet said, “Overall, despite varying legal systems, certain practices, patterns and challenges appeared similar, including the recurrence of racial bias, stereotypes and profiling. Harmful and degrading associations of Blackness with criminality appear to shape interactions of people of African descent with law enforcement and criminal justice. Three key contexts in which police-related fatalities stood out: 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 special police operations in the context of the ‘war on drugs’ or gang-related operations.”

The report found that many States have not put in place clear and effective laws and policies about use of force, increasing the risk of violations. Moreover, law enforcement officers are rarely held accountable for human rights violations and crimes against persons of African descent. Deficient investigations; inadequate oversight, complaint and accountability mechanisms; and widespread prejudice about the presumed underlying guilt of victims of African descent are contributing factors. Investigations, prosecutions and trials largely do not adequately consider the potential role of racial discrimination, stereotypes and biases in lethal incidents involving the police.

Bachelet said, “Our report also examines Government responses to peaceful anti-racism protests. We found credible allegations of unnecessary and disproportionate use of force against some protests, and differences in how racial justice protests were policed compared with other demonstrations. The clampdown on anti-racism protests in some countries should be seen within a broader context in which the voices of people of African descent, and people combatting racism, are stifled, and human rights defenders of African descent face reprisals, including harassment, threats, criminal prosecutions, violence and killings.”

The UN human rights chief underscored that, in light of these profound and wide-ranging injustices, “there is an urgent need to confront the legacies of enslavement, the transatlantic slave trade, colonialism and successive racially discriminatory policies and systems, and to seek reparatory justice. Despite some initiatives towards truth-seeking, and limited forms of reparations -- including memorialization, acknowledgements, apologies and litigation, our research could not find a single example of a State that has comprehensively reckoned with the past or accounted for its impacts on the lives of people of African descent today.”

The report presents to the Council practical recommendations for four interconnected pillars of action that are essential to address systemic racism.

The High Commissioner said States should acknowledge the systemic nature of racism, in every part of life, in order to transform the structures, institutions and behaviours that lead to direct or indirect discrimination. Secondly, she said law enforcement officials must be held accountable for crimes and human rights violations against Africans and people of African descent, adding that a deep look into policing itself is required and alternative approaches should be applied in some situations. Thirdly, she said countries should uphold the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, and protect organizers, participants, observers and journalists during anti-racism protests, as well as those who stand up against racism outside of such protests.

“The final pillar of this transformative agenda recommends that States create, reinforce and fully fund comprehensive processes – with full participation of affected communities - to share the truth about what was done, and the harms it continues to inflict. Establishing the truth about these legacies, and their impact today, and taking steps to address these harms through a wide range of reparations measures is crucial to healing our societies and providing justice for terrible crimes. Measures taken to address the past will transform our future,” the High Commissioner said.

Bachelet called on countries to “translate this agenda into action plans and concrete measures, which should be developed through national dialogues and with the meaningful participation of people of African descent, to address the specific histories and current realities in each State.”
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