UN Resolution to Stop Police Brutality in the United States

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet. UN Photo / Jean-Marc Ferré (file photo)
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet. UN Photo / Jean-Marc Ferré (file photo)

“You watched my brother die. That could have been me,” said Philonise Floyd, brother of George Floyd, the African American man whose death at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis, United States, last month sparked worldwide protests.

“I am my brother’s keeper. You in the United Nations are your brothers’ and sisters’ keepers in America, and you have the power to help us get justice for my brother George Floyd. I am asking you to help him. I am asking you to help me. I am asking you to help us – Black people in America.”

Floyd gave his impassioned statement via video, during the “Urgent debate on systemic racism and police brutality in the United States,” requested by the Africa Group of the Human Rights Council.

NGOs as well as Member States will have an opportunity to discuss how to deal with the systemic racism and police brutality during the debate which began on 17 June and was scheduled to continue into the following day.

Speaking before Mr Floyd, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed stated that the “UN has a duty to respond to the anger felt by so many for so long.”

In her speech, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet called on Member States and others to act decisively to address the pervasive racism that corrodes institutions, entrenches inequality and underlies many violations of human rights.

On 25 May this year, George Floyd was killed by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His death led to weeks of wide-spread protests across the United States, and sparked similar protests against police brutality and racism across the globe.

There have also been numerous calls by human rights groups for some form of response from the Human Rights Council, and a resolution is expected to be voted on by the Council today, 18 June.

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Rakesh Raman