America’s “structural racism” and “glaring inequalities” are at the heart of the massive protests that have gripped the US, the UN’s human rights chief said, adding that it is high time for “far-reaching reforms.”
The protests over the death of George Floyd, an African American choked to death by a police officer during detention, have reached such proportions they have drawn attention of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet. She said that demonstrations that often grew into violent riots clearly show people have been driven “to the boiling point” and America’s deep-seated inequality problem cannot be ignored anymore.
“The voices calling for an end to the killings of unarmed African Americans need to be heard. The voices calling for an end to police violence need to be heard. And the voices calling for an end to the endemic and structural racism that blights US society need to be heard,” Bachelet said in a statement.
She also dismissed all attempts to portray “mass outpouring of grief” as an agenda secretly driven by some political forces. Earlier, some public figure in the US claimed controversial billionaire, George Soros might have had a hand in the developments.
“There can be no doubt as to what or who is ‘behind’ these protests. We have seen thousands upon thousands of peaceful protesters, of diverse backgrounds, taking to the streets to demand their rights and to call for change,” Bachelet said.
Instead, she urged the US to finally take lessons from both its past and present and admit the “glaring inequality” problem. “The anger we have seen in the US … shows why far-reaching reforms and inclusive dialogue are needed there to break the cycle of impunity for unlawful killings by police and racial bias in policing.”
Discrimination in the US does not only poison race relations, the official warned, as she urged the authorities to consider “socio-economic factors” as well. Hundreds of cities in all 50 US states have, over the past week, seen rallies in solidarity with Floyd and other African Americans killed by police. With tensions running high, some protest actions spiraled into riots and violent clashes with law enforcement while others were marred by looting and property damage.
Many states called in the National Guard to get the situation under control. Several people have died in the unrest while dozens more were injured.President Donald Trump deployed troops to Washington DC and has threatened to send them to other states as well.