A report from the United Nations, human rights chief, focuses on racial injustices around the world suffered by Africans and African descendants, particularly those caused by the transatlantic slave trade, which lasted centuries. It even goes as far as urging reparations to those affected.
“I am calling on all states to stop denying — and start dismantling — racism; to end impunity and build trust; to listen to the voices of people of African descent; and to confront past legacies and deliver redress,” said Michelle Bachelet, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights in a video statement, according to the Associated Press.
The document brings attention to global structural racist systems and their historical impact on Black people, which are exemplified in the deaths of unarmed Black people in America and other countries at the hands of law enforcement or vigilantism.
It aims to accelerate actions by countries to stop racial injustice, bar police from getting away with human rights violations, ensure a voice for people of African descent, and create accountability for the wrongs of the past centuries.
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Bachelet, who twice served as president of Chile, made clear that she felt reparations are necessary to formulate that accountability.
“Systemic racism needs a systemic response,” the report says. “States should adopt a systemic approach to combating racial discrimination through the adoption and monitoring of whole-of-government and whole-of-society responses that are contained in comprehensive and adequately resourced national and regional action plans and that include, where necessary, special measures to secure for disadvantaged groups, notably Africans and people of African descent, the full and equal enjoyment of human rights.”
This is not the first time United Nations officials have discussed reparations for the enslavement of African descendants. In 2016, the UN Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent released a report saying that reparations are due to turn around the effects of slavery on Black people. Others in the UN have echoed the same sentiments that nations must acknowledge their roles in the transatlantic slave trade and its impact on an entire population of people from the 15th through the 20th centuries and the continued effect.
Bachelet’s report was compiled after analyzing 190 deaths, the majority in the U.S., to outline how police and law enforcement are so rarely held accountable for human rights violations, the AP said. It highlighted similar patterns in other nations.
The aim is to get governments to respond constructively to inherent systems of racism and not only in America. In about 60 nations, other cases are mentioned.
“We could not find a single example of a state that has fully reckoned with the past or comprehensively accounted for the impacts of the lives of people of African descent today,” Mona Rishmawi, who is a leader of a non-discrimination department in Bachelet’s office, told the AP. “Our message, therefore, is that this situation is untenable.”