The United Nations Human Rights Council is holding an urgent debate Wednesday on police brutality and systemic racism in the US, following the international protests over the death of George Floyd.
“The tragic events of 25 May in Minneapolis in the US, which led to the death of George Floyd, led to protests throughout the world against injustice and police brutality that persons of African descent face on a daily basis in many regions of the world,” Dieudonné W. Désiré Sougouri,, the African Group’s coordinator said on Monday.
“The death of George Floyd is unfortunately not an isolated incident.”
The debate is underway at the UN headquarters in Geneva. It was requested by the African Group, composed of 54 member states from the African continent.
In a video message George Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, addressed the gathering saying, “My brother was unarmed and was accused of passing a counterfeit 20 bill. My family and I had to watch the last moments of his life. When people dared to raise their voice and protest for my brother, they were tear gassed.”
“My brother, George Floyd, is one of the many black men and women that have been murdered by police in recent years. You watched my brother die. That could have been me. I am my brother’s keeper.”
“I am asking you (the UN) to help him. I am asking you to help me. I am asking you to help us – black people in America.”
High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, who joined the debate in person, said: “We also need to make amends for centuries of racial discrimination.” “Time is of the essence. Patience has run out. Black Lives Matter. Indigenous lives matter.”
Among those in attendance include Amina Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General and Kwesi Quartey, Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission.
Permanent Representative of Burkina Faso made the request on Monday as the group’s coordinator.