USA: Request for UN Human Rights Council inquiry into US Police Violence | Joint Letter

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Led by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) more than 600 civil society organizations from around the world, including Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada, joined family members of victims of police violence in the United States (US) in a joint letter calling on member states of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council to urgently convene a Special Session on the situation of human rights in the US to address the human rights crisis created by violent repression of protests across the US. The largely peaceful protests have been a response to the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, one of a number of recent “unlawful killings of unarmed Black people by police and armed white vigilantes.”

The joint letter expresses concern about escalation of militarized police responses to protests that have included “use of rubber bullets, tear gas, pepper spray and in some cases live ammunition, in violation of international standards on the use of force and management of assemblies including recent U.N. Guidance on Less Lethal Weapons.”

The letter seeks a UN Human Rights Council mandate for an independent inquiry into:

  • the recent history of racist policing in cities across the country that continues with seeming impunity from the killing of Michael Brown and the repression of protests in Ferguson, Missouri, to the murder of George Floyd.

  • allegations of excessive use of force against peaceful protesters and journalists in the demonstrations in U.S. cities since the murder of George Floyd.

See the joint letter and signatories here.