UN Finds Obama’s USA a Dangerous Place for African Americans
“Killings of unarmed African Americans by the police is only the tip of the iceberg in what is a pervasive racial bias in the justice system,” the report highlighted.
Police killings and continued racial discrimination against African Americans in the United States are reminiscent of racial terror practices which were once used against black slaves, according to a United Nations-affiliated human rights body report released earlier this week.
Presenting the findings to the ongoing 33rd session of the Human Rights Council (HRC), the Chairperson of HRC’s Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent warned that “the legacy of colonial history, enslavement, racial subordination and segregation, racial terrorism and racial inequality in the United States remained a serious challenge.”
According to statistics, the U.S. jail population stands at some 2.2 million individuals, with a further 7 million offenders on parole or probation.
Over one third (36 percent) of sentenced federal and state prisoners are African Americans, with the imprisonment rate for black males and females respectively 5.9 and 2.1 times higher than for their white counterparts.
“Thousands of young African Americans, particularly those living under the poverty line and with low levels of educational attainment, have been placed in detention centres, without addressing the root causes of crime, guaranteeing better security to the communities where they lived or offering them effective rehabilitation,” the report explained.
The makeup of the U.S. judicial system also stands to blame for handing out unfair verdicts to African Americans.
According to the Working Group, the racial composition of juries is one of the main factors behind racial bias when sentencing offenders to the death penalty.
Hate crimes targeting African Americans also continue to exist, as was seen by the Charleston church attack in 2015.
Findings also showed that disparities in access to education, health, housing and employment have severely impacted the well-being of African Americans in the U.S..
In light of these trends, the Working Group underlined the “profound need” to recognise the transatlantic trade in Africans, enslavement, colonization and colonialism as a crime against humanity.
It also urged Washington to take serious action to prevent any further unlawful killings as a matter of national priority while granting reparations to African Americans for past injustices.
Created in 2006, the HRC is an inter-governmental body working to promote and protect human rights around the globe through thematic discussions and structured recommendations.