UN rights body to hold debate on racism, police brutality in US

This article is more than 12 months old

GENEVA: The top United Nations human rights body will hold an urgent debate tomorrow on allegations of "systemic racism, police brutality and violence against peaceful protests" in the US.

The decision by the UN Human Rights Council followed a request last week by Burkina Faso on behalf of African countries, it said in a statement yesterday.

The US is not a member of the 47-member state forum in Geneva, having quit it two years ago alleging bias against its ally Israel.

"The death of George Floyd is unfortunately not an isolated incident," said the African group's letter made public by the UN.

It was referring to the African American who died on May 25 under the knee of a white Minneapolis police officer, igniting nationwide protests and demonstrations worldwide.

"The numbers of previous cases of unarmed people of African descent who met the same fate because of uncontrolled police violence are legion," the letter said.

The "international outrage" provoked by the death underlined the importance of the Human Rights Council discussing these issues, it said.

Mr Floyd's family, along with the families of other victims of police violence and over 600 NGOs this week called on the council to urgently address systemic racism and police impunity in the US.

The Minneapolis City Council on Friday unanimously passed a resolution to pursue a community-led public safety system to replace the police department following Mr Floyd's death.

The death of Mr Rayshard Brooks, a black man killed by a white police officer in Atlanta on Friday, reignited protests in the city.

An autopsy conducted on Sunday showed that Mr Brooks, 27, died from blood loss and organ injuries caused by two gunshot wounds to the back, an investigator for the medical examiner said in a statement.

The manner of his death was homicide, the statement said.

Lawyers for Mr Brooks' family said he was the father of a young daughter who was celebrating her birthday on Saturday. They said the officers had no right to use deadly force even if he had fired a Taser, a non-lethal weapon, in their direction. - REUTERS