On 28 June, the UN published a report called “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”. During the drafting process of this report, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) called for inputs, which we and many other organisations answered. Our staff here at QCEA contributed to the report by submitting a paper with recommendations, which can be found here: QCEA recommendations
Submissions from other organisations, such as our sister organisation QUNO, can be read here: Other submissions
On the day of the publication of the report, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, issued an urgent call for states to adopt a “transformative agenda” to uproot systemic racism. This statement and the radical language of the report are developments we welcome. The hope now is that states will adopt the steps recommended in the report and that this will be the first step towards dismantling afrophobia and systemic racism.
The four-step approach in the annex of the report:
- STEP UP – Stop denying and start dismantling
- PURSUE JUSTICE – End impunity and build trust
- LISTEN UP – People of African descent must be heard
- REDRESS – Confront past legacies, take special measures and deliver reparatory justice
In all our work, we want to point to the root causes of injustices in Europe and beyond, such as systemic racism stemming from colonialism. We are therefore pleased that the UN mentions in their plan for the way ahead the need to confront past injustices, their ongoing legacies as well as the imperative to “stop denying”.
You can read the full report of the UN Human Rights Commissioner here: full report.
To read more on our work on policing and racism please visit Framing Human Policing | Quaker Council for European Affairs (qcea.org) and Race and Privilege in Europe | Quaker Council for European Affairs (qcea.org). To learn more about what Quakers are doing on the UN level, please take a look at the work of our sister organisation, the Quaker United Nations Office: www.quno.org