Geneva, Switzerland, September 26, 2016 (Newswire.com) - Following the recent deaths of Terence Crutcher of Tulsa, Oklahoma and Keith Scott of Charlotte, North Carolina, a US based NGO submitted an appeal as a matter of extreme urgency to five UN Human Rights Special Rapporteurs and the UN Working Group of Experts on people of African Descent, which conducted an official visit to the US in 2015. “In January 2016, the 'Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent' described the violence against African and Indigenous descendants of colonialism and enslavement in the United States as an 'epidemic of racial violence by the police'”, the organization reiterated to officials.
In the letter addressed to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights for the United Nations at Geneva, which is currently in session with the 33rd Human Rights Council, the group also cited the Congressional Black Caucus’ recent symbolic march to the office of US Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s to deliver a similar appeal to the Department of Justice.
African and Indigenous descendants of colonialism and enslavement from all walks of life believe that they are under siege (in the United States).
Ava Gabrielle, President/CEO, USSDC
“In a September 2016 letter to the United States Attorney General, the United States Congressional Black Caucus formally requested that she 'aggressively pursue investigations, indictments and prosecutions through the Office of Civil Rights against any and all law enforcement officers who harm or kill innocent, unarmed black men, women and children.' The Human Rights Council can and should join in that request.”
Officer Betty Shelby who shot and killed unarmed citizen Terence Crutcher as he stood beside his disabled vehicle on the side of the road was charged with manslaughter and has been released on a $50,000 bond. No one has been charged in the death of Keith Scott and protesters who are now more peaceful on day six than they were on day one are calling for the resignation of the city’s mayor and police chief for botching the investigation which has been taken over by the state of North Carolina.
“African and Indigenous descendants of colonialism and enslavement from all walks of life believe that they are under siege (in the United States). Although law enforcement killed some 1200 people in 2015, only 7 resulted in a charge with a crime and none were convicted. Police charged in the deaths for Americans like Walter Scott, LaQuan McDonald and Akai Gurley are free on bond, awaiting trial. African and Indigenous descendants of colonialism and enslavement are left feeling disenfranchised and devalued in the United States,” the organization said.
Since 2014, several law enforcement related deaths have been caught on camera, more recently in real time and aired live via social media by family members and by-standers that have triggered massive waves of traumatic responses from the communities of African and Indigenous descendants of colonialism and enslavement in the United States.
The letter directly quoted the Human Rights Council's resolution language that described the purpose of the urgent appeal to the United Nations. “This communication is an urgent appeal about the increasing potential in a contentious climate for “time-sensitive violations that involve loss of life, life-threatening situations or imminent or on-going damage of a grave nature that require urgent intervention to cease” such occurrences.”
The letter concluded with a three-point request:
- “Urge the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to pay close attention to the human rights situation in the United States; Report regularly and publicly on the human rights situation in the country;
- Establish a long term mechanism, such as a country specific special procedure mechanism to document the situation of human rights in the United States; assess priorities and report back periodically to the Human Rights Council;
- Demand that all actors in the situation, beginning with the United States Department of Justice, ensure the protection of civilians, oversee the immediate cessation of any violations of international human rights and humanitarian law and put in place measures to prevent further violations;”
The appeal was addressed directly to Victoria Lucia, Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples; Ms. Rita Izsak, Special Rapporteur on minority issues; Mr. Mutuma Ruteere, Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance; Juan Ernesto Mendez, Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; Pablo De Greiff, Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation & guarantees of non-recurrence; and members of the Working Group of Experts on people of African Descent, Mireille Fanon-Mendez, Sabelo Gumedze, Michal Balcerzak, Ricardo III Sunga and Ahmed Reid.
Others alerted were the US Department of Justice, the White House, the Congressional Black Caucus, the Ambassador of the United States to the United Nations Human Rights Council and the office of Multi-Lateral and Global Affairs/Democracy Human Rights and Labor.
Source: United States Sustainable Development Corp