Posted on July 16, 2021

UN Orders Global Systemic Racism Probe

Nina Larson, Agence France-Presse, July 13, 2021

The UN Human Rights Council on Tuesday highlighted the global “scourge” of systemic racism and ordered an independent investigation into racially-fuelled police violence around the world.

In a resolution brought by a group of African countries, the council harshly condemned “continuing racially discriminatory and violent practices perpetrated by many law enforcement officials against Africans and people of African descent.”


It ordered the creation of an “international independent expert mechanism” to “advance racial justice and equality in the context of law enforcement in all parts of the world.”

The resolution follows a damning report published last month by UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet calling for systemic racism against black people to be immediately dismantled.


In a bid to help address the problem, the new expert team called for in Tuesday’s resolution will be asked to examine “the root causes of systemic racism in law enforcement and the criminal justice system, the excessive use of force, racial profiling”.

It will also probe other police violations that “may lead to disproportionate and widespread interaction between law enforcement officers and Africans and people of African descent.”

The experts, who will be appointed by the council president with a three-year mandate, will be urged to conduct country visits and to consult with states and affected communities and individuals.

They will also “investigate governments’ responses to peaceful anti-racism protests” and “any nexus between supremacist movements and actors within law enforcement and the criminal justice system”.

Their main task will be promoting racial justice and equality in law enforcement around the world, the impact of “legacies of colonialism and the transatlantic slave trade in enslaved Africans”, and accountability and redress for victims.