In an unprecedented move, the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Michael Brown, and Philando Castile, together with over 600 rights groups led by the American Civil Liberties Union and U.S. Human Rights Network, are demanding the United Nations Human Rights Council swiftly convene a special session to investigate the escalating situation of police violence and repression of protests in the United States. Additional signatories include Black Lives Matter and the NAACP.
“Mamie Till Mobley made a decision to open the casket of her son Emmett Till so the world could see the atrocities Black people faced in America. I want people across the world and the leaders in the United Nations to see the video of my brother George Floyd, to listen to his cry for help, and I want them to answer his cry,” said Philonise Floyd, brother of George Floyd. “I appeal to the United Nations to help him. Help me. Help us. Help Black men and women in America.”
The groups warn of an “unfolding grave human rights crisis” in the United States and write that the recent police killings of unarmed Black people, as well as police use of excessive force and repression of protests, violate United States obligations under international law. They call on the U.N. to mandate an independent inquiry into the killings and violent law enforcement responses to protests, including the attacks against protesters and journalists. The letter also calls for a U.N. investigation into the firing of tear gas by President Trump in violation of international standards on the use of force.
The United Nations Human Rights Council is the world’s highest multilateral human rights body. It is mandated to strengthen the global promotion and protection of human rights and to address human rights violations. The council may hold special sessions to address human rights violations and emergencies if at least one-third of its member states demand.
Click here to read the full petition and list of signatories.