UN concerned with “disproportionate killings" of African Americans by US police

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26 November. The top UN Human Rights official says that “institutionalized discrimination” in the United States has to be rooted out.

In a statement in the wake of the decision of a Grand Jury not to charge a police officer who killed an African American in the city of Ferguson in Missouri, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, states:
“I am deeply concerned at the disproportionate number of young African Americans who die in encounters with police officers, as well as the disproportionate number of African Americans in US prisons and the disproportionate number of African Americans on Death Row,” High Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, says in a statement issued by his office in Geneva yesterday.

Mr. Zeid says that people had their rights to protest against the Grand Jury’s decision not to charge a police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown in Ferguson, but he urged all protestors to avoid violence and destruction.

“Without knowing the details of the evidence laid before the Missouri Grand Jury – which in turn depends on the quality of the investigation into the killing of Michael Brown – I am not, at this point, able to comment on whether or not the verdict conforms with international human rights law,” Mr. Zeid says.

In his statement the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights points out that concerns about institutionalized discrimination in the US have repeatedly been raised, by respected national bodies and by UN bodies monitoring the implementation of international human rights treaties, ratified by the US. These include, this year alone, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, and the Human Rights Committee.* In addition, just two weeks ago, Michael Brown’s parents addressed the Committee against Torture** which is currently reviewing the United States’ application of its obligations under the Convention against Torture. That committee will deliver its conclusions on Friday.

Photo: Protestors gather in New York City to demonstrate against the police shooting of Michael Brown (August 2014). Photo: Loey Felipe