Yesterday, we joined the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Michael Brown, and Philando Castile, and over 600 human rights groups in 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.

As we wrote last week, multiple South Carolina law enforcement agencies have responded to non-violent protests about police violence with more violence.  We have observed police officers actively pursue peaceful protestors, making arrests and firing projectiles and chemicals. 

The police brutality we witnessed matches additional complaints we have received from individuals across South Carolina, as well as reports of police violence from coast to coast. 

The recent police killings of unarmed Black people as well as other police violence and repression of protests violate United States obligations under international law. We call on the UN to mandate an independent inquiry into:

  • The recent history of racist policing in cities across the country that continues with seeming impunity  from  the killing  of  Michael  Brown  and  the  repression  of  protests  in Ferguson, Missouri, to the murder of George Floyd.
  • Allegations  of  excessive  use  of  force  against  peaceful  protesters  and  journalists  in  the demonstrations in U.S.cities since the murder of George Floyd.

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.

You can read the full letter here. Thanks to the ACLU Human Rights Program and the US Human Rights Network for leading this effort.