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19-03-2021 | Edited News

Tackling Systemic Racism - Michelle Bachelet 19 March 2021

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  1. Exterior wide shot, Palais des Nations flag alley, nations’ flags flying, a cloudy day. 
  2. SOUNDBITE (English) — UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet: Ten months after the killing of George Floyd set off new waves of outrage and demands for change across the world, a key trial related to his killing is now beginning. But this crucial, defining opportunity for justice is denied to countless other families.”
  3. Wide shot, podium with speakers, Assembly Hall, Palais des Nations. 
  4. SOUNDBITE (English) — UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet: Many of the families we consulted clearly felt their governments are not doing enough to acknowledge or counter systemic racism in law enforcement and justice – and their officials responsible for human rights violations are not being held to account.” 
  5. Wide shot, near-empty Assembly Hall in line with COVID-19 distancing measures, Palais des Nations. 
  6. SOUNDBITE (English) — UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet: I want to be very clear: impunity for crimes that may have been committed by agents of the State is profoundly damaging to the core values and social cohesion of every nation. No police officer or any other agent of any State should ever be above the law. This is, after all, the basic premise of the rule of law.” 
  7. Wide shot, Assembly Hall balcony, Palais des Nations. 
  8. SOUNDBITE (English) — UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet: To end racial injustice in law enforcement, we cannot simply see tip of the iceberg, we must face the mass below the surface. We must understand the roots of todays inequalities and the unacknowledged and unredressed racism upon which they have grown.”
  9. Medium shot, journalists sitting in front of laptops, Assembly Hall, Palais des Nations. 
  10. SOUNDBITE (English) — UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet: My report to the Council in June will recommend an agenda for transformative change to dismantle systemic racism and police brutality against Africans and people of African descent, and to advance accountability and redress for victims.”  
  11. Medium shot, journalists in the Assembly Hall, Palais des Nations. 
  12. SOUNDBITE (English) — UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet: It will also analyse Government responses to recent, overwhelmingly peaceful, demonstrations for racial justice – including credible reports of unnecessary and disproportionate use of force by law enforcement officers against protesters, bystanders and journalists, and broader threats to people of African descent and others who stand up against racism.”  
  13. Medium shot, UNTV camera filming in foreground and podium to rear, Assembly Hall, Palais des Nations. 
  14. Medium shot, journalists typing on laptop, Assembly Hall, Palais des Nations.
  15. Wide shot, podium with speakers, side shot, Assembly Hall, Palais des Nations. 

 

"Transformative change needed to dismantle racism and police violence": rights chief

The Human Rights Council embarked on a discussion over police violence against people of African descent on Friday, with a warning from UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet that “brutality and discrimination against people of African descent continue to occur”.

In an appeal on Friday for States to take action, the High Commissioner for Human Rights insisted that “no police officer or any other agent of any State should ever be above the law”.

But she said wider prejudice in society and its institutions can only be addressed by digging deeper, and facing “the mass below the surface,” to understand “the roots of today’s inequalities and the unacknowledged and unredressed racism upon which they have grown”.

Her comments coincide with the US trial of a former police officer accused of killing black American George Floyd in May 2020.

Mr. Floyd, who was 46, died after an officer knelt on his neck for over eight minutes in Minneapolis, sparking worldwide protests and the Black Lives Matter movement.

His killing also prompted widespread calls for a discussion of the issue at the Human Rights Council in Geneva barely a month later.

It resulted in Resolution 43/1, mandating Member States to look at systemic racism and human rights violations by law enforcement agencies against Africans and people of African descent – and to contribute to accountability and redress for victims.

This “opportunity for justice is denied to countless other families” of other black victims of police violence, Ms. Bachelet continued, adding that “so many cases involving deaths of people of African descent never make it to court” and “officials responsible for human rights violations are not being held to account”.

To help end racial injustice in law enforcement, the High Commissioner noted that her Office would present a report to the Geneva-based body in June.

It will outline “an agenda for transformative change”  with proposals to “dismantle” systemic racism and police brutality against Africans and people of African descent, and to tackle impunity.

The upcoming report will also offer an analysis of Governments and the disproportionate use of force by law enforcement officers to “recent, overwhelmingly peaceful, demonstrations for racial justice”. 

 


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