CIVICUS has joined families of victims of police violence in the United States of America, the ACLU, and more than 360 civil society organisations, in a letter to Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights regarding the implementation of the recent Human Rights Council Resolution (A/HRC/43/L.50) adopted on June 19, 2020. This resolution followed an Urgent Debate "on current racially inspired human rights violations, systemic racism, police brutality and violence against peaceful protests."
H.E. Michelle Bachelet
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Palais Wilson
52 rue des Pâquis
CH-1201 Geneva, Switzerland (via email: )
Dear High Commissioner,
The undersigned families of victims of police violence and civil society organizations write with regard to the Human Rights Council resolution (A/HRC/43/L.50) on the 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.
As you know, the resolution has mandated your office, with the assistance of relevant Special Mandate Holders, “to prepare a report on systemic racism, violations of international human rights law against Africans and people of African descent by law enforcement agencies, especially those incidents that resulted in the death of George Floyd and other Africans and of people of African descent, to contribute to accountability and redress for victims.” The resolution has also requested that your office “examine government responses to antiracism peaceful process peaceful protests, including the alleged use of excessive force against protesters, bystanders and journalists.” In addition, the resolution also requested that the High Commissioner “include updates on police brutality against Africans and people of African descent in all her oral updates to the Council.”
While we were disappointed that the Council adopted a watered-down resolution due to enormous diplomatic pressure from the United States and other allied countries, we consider the outcome of the urgent debate a crucial first step towards full accountability for systemic police violence against Black people in the United States and more generally against people of African descent around the world. We wish to make the following recommendations and suggestions to ensure effective implementation of the resolution and a transparent, inclusive process for producing the report with maximum meaningful participation and engagement from directly impacted communities and other relevant stakeholders.