The Way Forward, Part IV
The provisions that prohibit propaganda for war and speech, which promotes hatred of racial or religious groups or incites discrimination or violence against people of racial or religious groups, should be implemented.
5. Recommendations to State and Local Governments in the United States
To the extent that the Federal government does not have jurisdiction, or there are constitutional constraints to regulating the 18,000 local law enforcement forces in the United States; each state or local government should implement the Commission’s Recommendations regarding vetting, monitoring, training, collection of data, and holding law enforcement accountable for killing civilians, specifically those of African descent and Indigenous people. In particular, the Commissioners recommend that States, municipalities, and local governments should further operate to bring all 18,000 law enforcement forces within the purview of constitutional policing and compliance, should develop civilian review boards and oversight, and should develop response teams comprised of qualified unarmed civilian staff separate from law enforcement departments to respond to emergencies involving mental health, homelessness, and other non-criminal emergencies.
6. Recommendations for Reparations, a History Commission, and Museums and Libraries addressed both to the Executive and Legislative Branches:
A. The US government‘s executive and legislative branches should acknowledge that the Transatlantic Slave Trade in Africans, as well as enslavement, colonization, colonialism, and neocolonialism, constituted a crime against humanity and are among the major sources and manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, Afrophobia, xenophobia, and any related intolerance. Injustices and crimes against people of African descent and the Indigenous people must be addressed with reparatory justice.
B. The US Congress should pass HR 40 – the Commission to Study Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act, to establish a commission to examine enslavement and racial discrimination in the British colonies and in the United States from 1619 to the present and recommend appropriate remedies. The Commissioners urge the US to consider seriously applying analogous elements contained in the Caribbean Community’s Ten Point Action Plan on Reparations, which include a formal apology, health initiatives, educational opportunities, an African knowledge program, psychological rehabilitation, technology transfer, financial support, and debt cancellation.
C. Enact “The People of African Descent and Indigenous Americans (Atonement, Reparation, and Justice) Act", with the objective of correcting structural racism in US society which cannot be overcome without this legislation, to facilitate mandatory representation in legislatures and public employment of these communities in proportion to the percentage of their population to ensure their access to housing, nutrition, education, health care, social services, and other services, and to atone for genocide and the seizure of their resources, and the Crimes Against Humanity committed by those who operated and benefited from the slave trade and subsequent human enslavement which contributed to enormous capital accumulation in Britain and other European countries and in the United States and to subhuman status and acute disparities, which continue to adversely impact millions in the US, fragmenting society along racial lines.
D. Appoint a commission of racially diverse historians and eminent persons, with the representation of Academics of African descent, indigenous peoples, and Immigrants from the Caribbean and Central and South America among others to review and recommend an objective presentation of the history of the United States, of events and peoples’ movements, of the injustices and “holocaust” against people of African descent over several centuries, of the genocide of the Indigenous people, and the contribution of all races to the building of a society and nation.
E. Establish museums and libraries that include accurate films and video recordings of the early history of the US, the narrative of the slave trade and enslavement, the “holocaust” of people of African descent in the US for five centuries, the history of the struggle for emancipation, the Underground Railroad, the Civil Rights struggle led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others, and the contribution of people of African descent, among other migrants of color, to the US; including museums and libraries recording the history, life, and culture of indigenous peoples and the genocide and injustices perpetrated against them. It is by knowledge and understanding that racial profiling and violence will cease.
7. Recommendations to the Executive and the Congress that the United States Ratifies and Implements International Human Rights Treaties.
i. The US government should immediately ratify the core International Human Rights treaties and Regional Human Rights treaties to which the United States is still not a party, with a view to removing the gaps in the protection and full enjoyment of rights therein. Furthermore, the US should remove reservations related to the treaties that it has signed or ratified, including those stating that these treaties are non-self-executing.
ii. Specifically, Congress should remove the non-self-executing language in the ratification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and pass full implementing legislation of the treaty, including the provisions of Article 20 thereof, which prohibits propagandas for war and speech that promotes hatred of racial or religious groups or incites discrimination or violence against people of racial or religious groups.
iii. The US should fully implement, monitor, and enforce its obligations emanating from the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination and the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which the US has ratified.
iv. The US should ratify all other International Human Rights treaties, as well as regional treaties. To this end, an inter-agency body should be created, composed of high-level officials from the executive, legislature, and judicial branches at both the federal and the state levels, to take steps to effectuate the decisions, resolutions, views, observations, and recommendations of United Nations Human Rights bodies such as the Human Rights Council, the treaty bodies and special procedures, and the regional human rights bodies.
8. Recommendations to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
I. The Commission of Inquiry takes note of the important work undertaken by the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights, notably in its November 26, 2018 report, Police Violence Against Afro-Descendants in the United States, and in its August 2020 statement, calling on the United States “to implement structural reforms in the institutional systems of security and justice to counter historical discrimination and institutional racism”.
II. The Commission of Inquiry respectfully requests the IACHR to incorporate the findings and recommendations of the Report of this International Inquiry into the IACHR’s ongoing monitoring and fact-finding and to continue to press for and articulate the urgent need for structural reforms in the United States.
III. The Commission of Inquiry respectfully urges the IACHR to continue to actively support the cry for justice of the people of African descent in the United States, who have a similar early history of enslavement and discrimination as the people of African descent of the Caribbean and Central and South America.
9. Recommendations to the Member States of the African Union.
i) The Commission of Inquiry takes note of the powerful concerns expressed by the Chairperson of the African Union, H.E Moussa Faki Mohamat, H.E. Ambassador Kwesi Quartey, Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission, the African Group of Members of the UN Human Rights Council and participants in the Human Rights Council’s debates following the murder of George Floyd. Several speakers in the debate endorsed the idea of creating an Independent Commission of Inquiry and urged the Human Rights Council to take action and not become a passive observer. Several people urged the United States to take action to resolve the structural issues of economic inequality that led to recent events.
ii) The call for an Independent Commission of Inquiry was heard and acted upon. The UN Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent, the UN Special Rapporteur on Racism, Racial discrimination, Xenophobia and related forms of Intolerance, as well as all relevant Special Procedure mandate holders, must pay the closest attention to the voices of the people of African descent in the United States, including victims, survivors, jurists, and academics whose evidence of gross and well-attested patterns of human rights violations have been documented and placed before the Human Rights Council and concerned governments.
iii) It is necessary for governments of the African Union to continue to raise their voices, and if necessary, vote in the Human Rights Council to defeat any attempt to sidetrack world attention or to minimize or excuse concern for the people of African descent in the United States.
On June 1, 2021, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, requested by Consensus Resolution 43/1 of the UN Human Rights Council to submit a report, presented a detailed report. This report was discussed and debated by the UN Human Rights Council, and Resolution 47/1 was adopted on July 13, 2021, by the UN Human Rights Council on the “Promotion and Protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms of Africans and the people of African descent against excessive use of force and other human rights violations by law enforcement through transformative justice and equality”.
Unfortunately, despite international focus and support, including from governments of the African Union in the UN Human Rights Council; due to political deadlock in the United States Senate, the important Bill, the ‘Breathe Act‘ to enforce ‘Constitutional Policing’ in the United States for people of African descent, which would favorably impact policing methods for all citizens, though passed by the Congress, received a setback in the US Senate.
The implementation of the report of the US Inquiry Commission on Systemic Police Violence Against Citizens of African Descent in the United States will need the active and wider mobilization of public and political opinion at the Federal level, in 52 States, and in City Councils, and the continuing active diplomatic support of governments of the African Union and the Inter- American Commission on Human Rights.
There are several aspects of this report which are of concern to all citizens of the United States interested in its past, its present, and its future; in particular the recommendations on ‘Constitutional Policing’, the need to sign and ratify International Human Rights Conventions and other Treaties in the interests of all citizens, and the recommendation for a ‘History Commission’ to record the contribution of all races to the United States.
Dr. Luther King Jr. reminded the people of the United States:
"The struggle for Civil Rights and Equality" is a struggle to make one America... and that “our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."