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UN Human Rights Council Agrees to Hold Hearing Focused on 'Racial Inequality and Discrimination' That Characterizes American Society

"The protests the world is witnessing are a rejection of the fundamental racial inequality and discrimination that characterise life in the United States for black people."

A protester wearing a mask holds a large black power raised fist in the middle of the crowd that gathered at Columbus Circle in New York City on June 14, 2020. (Photo: Ira L. Black/Corbis via Getty Images)

The United Nations Human Rights Council will hold an emergency hearing Wednesday at the request of 54 African nations on racism and police violence around the world and particularly in the U.S. as ongoing protests over the killing of black Americans by the police turned out hundreds of thousands around the country over the weekend. 

"The protests the world is witnessing are a rejection of the fundamental racial inequality and discrimination that characterize life in the United States for black people," Dieudonné W. Désiré Sougouri, Burkina Faso's representative to the U.N. in Geneva, said Friday in a statement on behalf of the 54 countries. 

The hearing will focus on "racially inspired human rights violations, police brutality against people of African descent, and the violence against the peaceful protests that call for these injustices to stop."

Protests over the killing of Floyd last month by four Minneapolis poloice officers quickly spread across the U.S. and the world. In their letter to the council calling for hearings, the African nations note that Floyd's killing was part of a longstanding pattern in the U.S. 

As Al Jazeera reported Saturday, the letter follows a call from advocates in the U.S. that the world body hold hearings:

The call came after Floyd's family, along with the families of other victims of police violence and more than 600 NGOs this week called on the council to urgently address systemic racism and police impunity in the US.

Protests over the killing of Floyd and the ongoing problem of police racism and violence in the U.S. continued across the country over the weekend as Americans in multiple cities showed up in force for black lives. In Atlanta, the killing of Rayshard Brooks Friday night led to an explosion of frustration as demonstrators filled the streets Saturday and Sunday demanding justice, shutting down the interstate.


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At least 60,000 people marched silently through Seattle Friday.  

Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles was packed. 

Tens of thousands of New Yorkers filled the plaza outside of the Brooklyn Museum to rally for black trans lives.

Wednesday's hearing will focus on the global epidemic of racism that affects black and brown citizens of multiple countries, but will focus on the U.S. specifically. The U.S. is not currently a member of the Human Rights Council, the Trump administration having withdrawn from the organization in 2018 over criticism of Israeli abuses in the occupied territories.

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