At the UN, the United States promises to better combat racial discrimination

&At the UN, the United States promises to better combat racial discrimination

US State Department Special Representative for Racial Equity and Justice Desiree Cormier Smith at the opening of the hearings of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in Geneva on Friday

< p class="e-p">The United States promised the UN on Friday to step up the fight against racial discrimination, but left open the question of reparations for centuries of racism that Washington described as “systemic”.

We must continue to make strong, concerted efforts to eliminate the scourge of racial discrimination in our country, said State Department Special Representative for Racial Equity and Justice Desiree Cormier Smith. p>

Addressing the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), which for two days examined the US record on the matter, she underlined Washington's commitment to eliminate systemic racism, but recognized that much remains to be done.

Ms. Cormier Smith, herself of African American descent, co-chaired the x27;large American delegation. Composed of 18 experts, this committee is responsible for monitoring, at regular intervals, the application of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination by State Parties, which the United States has ratified. in 1994. Their findings will be published on August 30.

US officials were questioned on topics including police brutality and killings of black people, the rise in hate speech, and the treatment of indigenous and migrant populations.

Several experts have raised the issue of reparations, including South African Faith Dikeledi Pansy Tlakula, who asked if Congress or President Joe Biden himself would respond to calls for a commission to establish a reparations commission. study this file.

Police violence, black homicides, rise in hate speech and treatment indigenous populations and migrants were discussed. (Archives)

Human rights advocates lament that Washington never adequately addressed abuses committed against black people during slavery and later periods marked by exploitation, deprivation and abuse. segregation and violence.

This legacy, according to them, continues to be visible through, in particular, policies in the fields of health, education and housing.

US officials, who spent many hours answering questions from experts, however, did not discuss reparations. As the procedure provides, they have 48 hours to provide written responses.

Many human rights defenders who had come to Geneva to attend the debates lamented Washington's silence on the matter.

This issue of racial justice is the most important of our time, said Vince Warren, executive director of the Center for Human Rights. constitutional.

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