UN experts urge US tackle police brutality against Black people head-on: The Guardian

LONDON, May 8 (Xinhua) - United Nations (UN) human rights experts urged the United States to tackle police brutality and law enforcement's discrimination against Black people head-on after they concluded their U.S. tour focusing on racial justice and policing, The Guardian has reported.

Demonstrators take part in a "Black Lives Matter" protest commemorating Juneteenth in the Brooklyn borough of New York, the United States, June 19, 2020. (File photo: Xinhua)

UN experts completed their first official visit to the U.S. as part of a system of global inquiries set up by the human rights council after the police murder of George Floyd in May 2020. The experts called for a nationwide commitment to addressing discrimination suffered by Black Americans in their daily dealings with the law, moving beyond piecemeal reform and slogan-making, the British newspaper said on Friday.

"In the U.S., racial inequity dates back to the very creation of this country and there'll be no quick fixes," said Tracie Keesee, one of two independent UN experts who conducted the visit, at the press conference held on Friday in Washington DC.

"To this day, racial discrimination permeates through encounters with law enforcement -- from first contact, arrest, detention, sentencing and disenfranchisement," Keesee noted.

He added that what was needed was a "whole government approach... This needs to be more than a slogan and calls for reform."

Juan Mendez, a former UN special rapporteur on torture, said that he had been moved throughout the visit by the "harrowing pain of victims and their families, and the resounding calls for accountability."

During their 15-day mission, Keesee and Mendez visited six U.S. cities: Washington, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago, Minneapolis and New York. Their mission was to investigate excessive use of force, militarised policing, racial profiling and other human rights violations by law enforcement and penal agencies against Black Americans. They also had emotional encounters with families of the victims of police killings and other law enforcement abuses.

Mendez added that their mission would be calling on the U.S. justice department to make "more serious and proactive" use of its powers through consent decrees to intervene in the inner workings of local police departments to address some of the most egregious abuses.

The Guardian noted that the visit marks an intensification in the UN's focus on racial justice in America in the aftermath of the Floyd killing and the summer of protests it triggered across the U.S. and around the world.

The UN experts will present their final report to the human rights council in Geneva in September or October.