As we struggle with the ever increasing pressure from the Swamp called the UN many of us wonder where that pressure is coming from. It is a hope that the following pages are from the UN General Assembly and the Human Rights group on Race Relations will be of some assistance in understanding exactly how the UN works to Control and Subvert Sovereign Nations.
18 August 2016
Agenda item 9
Racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related
forms of intolerance, follow-up to and implementation of
the Durban Declaration and Program of Action
Report of the Working Group of Experts on People of
African Descent on its mission to the United States of
Note by the Secretariat
The report transmitted herewith contains the findings of the Working Group of
Experts on People of African Descent on its visit to the United States of America from 19
to 29 January 2016. In it, the Working Group presents the current legal, institutional and
policy framework, and measures taken to prevent racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia,
Afrophobia and related intolerance faced by people of African descent in the United States,
underscoring positive developments as well as gaps in implementation. The Working
Group describes the situation, highlights good practices and the main challenges identified,
and makes concrete recommendations.
Report of the Working Group of Experts on People of
African Descent on its mission to the United States of
of people of African descent
Institutional and policy measures
Manifestations of racial discrimination
The criminal justice system and barriers to civil and political participation
Disparities in access to education, health, housing and employment
Multiple forms of discrimination
Conclusions and recommendations
Circulated in the language of submission only.
At the invitation of the Government of the United States of America, the Working
Group of Experts on People of African Descent undertook a visit to the United States from
19 to 29 January 2016. The members of the delegation were Mireille Fanon Mendès-
France, Sabelo Gumedze and Ricardo Sunga III.
The Working Group visited Washington, D.C.; Baltimore, Maryland; Jackson,
Mississippi; Chicago, Illinois; and New York City. The Working Group met with
representatives of several government departments and offices, including the Department of
State, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Housing and Urban
Development, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Labor, the
Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency. The Working Group also
met with officials of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, in Washington, D.C.
In Baltimore, the Working Group met with the Maryland federal judges. In Jackson,
the Working Group met with officials of the Office of the Mayor and the Office of the
Attorney General of the State of Mississippi. In Chicago, the Working Group met with the
Attorney General of the State of Illinois, and with representatives of the Office of the
Mayor of the City of Chicago and the Chicago Police Department. In New York City, the
Working Group met with the Office of the Attorney General of the State of New York. The
Working Group also met with officials of the White House working on African American
issues and with staff of the congressional black caucus and interacted with a member of the
United States Senate. In all the cities that the Working Group visited, it also met with
hundreds of African Americans from communities with a large population of people of
suburbs, as well as with
representatives of non-governmental organizations.
lawyers, academics and
The Working Group thanks the Government for its invitation and for its cooperation
during the visit. In particular, the Working Group thanks the Office of Human Rights and
Humanitarian Affairs at the Department of State for its support. The Working Group would
also like to warmly thank the US Human Rights Network for coordinating meetings with
civil society in different parts of the country, and all the people who shared their views on
the human rights situation of African Americans in the country.
Nations human rights mechanisms. The Working Group also regrets that it was not possible
one fifth of the population of the American colonies by 1775. The issuance in 1863 of the
Amendment to the Constitution, in 1868, granting full United States citizenship to all
laws — laws at the state and local levels that enforced racial segregation and persecution,
primarily in the southern states — perpetuated political disenfranchisement, social and
economic exploitation, violence and the overall subjugation of people of African descent
until the 1960s. Lynching was a form of racial terrorism that has contributed to a legacy of
The civil rights movement from 1954 to 1968 was another important era in the
struggle for rights by people of African descent in the country. The Montgomery bus
boycott, the Selma to Montgomery marches, and many non-violent protests and acts of civil
disobedience throughout the country led to further legislative developments, including but
not limited to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibited, among other things,
discrimination based on race or colour; the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which sought to
overcome the legal barriers to the exercise of voting rights by African Americans; and the
Fair Housing Act of 1968, which prohibited discrimination in the purchase or renting of
cent of the United States population. Despite substantial changes since the end of the
enforcement of Jim Crow and the fight for civil rights, a systemic ideology of racism
ensuring the domination of one group over another continues to impact negatively on the
civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of African Americans today.
II. Legal framework and steps taken for the protection of the
human rights of people of African descent
the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
United States Census Bureau. See http://factfinder.census.gov.
courts in general in the United States are reluctant to consider international human rights
Americans in different parts of the country, the Working Group considers that civil rights
laws are not being fully implemented, and even if fully implemented, they are insufficient
to overcome and transform the institutional and structural racial discrimination and racism
from. Nevertheless, the Working Group also received information that the autonomy of the
descent. While state attorneys general and state civil rights commissions have a key role in
Institutional and policy measures
While there is no exclusive federal authority charged specifically with monitoring
and advancing the situation of people of African descent, the Working Group was informed
about measures that several federal agencies were undertaking to enforce civil rights laws.
In general, authorities at the federal and state levels acknowledged that racial discrimination
See HRI/CORE/USA/2011, para. 133.
access to basic health care, good nutrition, high-quality education, and labour opportunities,
and in reduction of violence.
Another measure was the creation of a task force to identify best practices and to
make recommendations to the President on how policing practices can promote effective
crime reduction while building public trust. The task force released its report on 18 May
2015 with a set of recommendations divided into six pillars: building trust and legitimacy,
policy and oversight, technology and social media, community policing and crime
reduction, training and education, and officer wellness and safety. The report adopted
positive recommendations on key issues such as racial profiling, the use of force, the
independence of investigations into killings by police officers, data collection, civilian
oversight of law enforcement agencies and police workforce diversity, among others. The
recommendations are not binding on state and local agencies.
States Attorney General created the Office for Access to Justice to address the crisis in the
provision of indigent legal defence that continues to have a specific impact on African
Americans and other minorities. In 2016, the Attorney General launched a set of reforms to
the criminal justice system known as the Roadmap to Re-entry, which is aimed at reducing
the existing high level of recidivism and at improving public health, child welfare,
employment, education, housing and other key reintegration outcomes for those who have
served their time in the federal prison system.
logistics employees. In 2015, a United States district court ordered the company to pay
$1.6 million and provide job opportunities to alleged victims of racial discrimination.
Final report of
President’s Task Force
Available from http://www.justice.gov/reentry/file/844356/download.
Enforcement guidance on the consideration of arrest and conviction records in employment decisions
under title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. See
The landmark decision of the Supreme Court in June 2016 in Fisher v. University of
Texas at Austin et al., which upheld an affirmative action policy at the University of Texas,
permitting the inclusion of race as one of the components to be considered during the
applications process, is a positive development with longer-term policy implications.
Manifestations of racial discrimination
The criminal justice system and barriers to civil and political
and excessive use of lethal force by law enforcement officials, committed with impunity
national system to track killings committed by law enforcement officials. Federal
officers, the Guardian newspaper’s “The Counted” database identified a total of 1,136
police officers have been held accountable for these crimes, despite the evidence. The
Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin et al., 579 U.S. (2016).
to killings by police officers and recommended mandatory external and independent
escalation of situations and the excessive use of force disproportionately used on African
African Americans. One of the main conclusions of the report was that “Ferguson’s law
enforcement practices are shaped by the City’s focus on revenue rather than by public
safety needs. This emphasis on revenue has compromised the institutional character of
Ferguson’s police department, contributing to a pattern of unconstitutional policing…
Further, Ferguson’s police and municipal court practices both reflect and exacerbate
existing racial bias, including racial stereotypes. Ferguson’s own data establish clear racial
the Chicago Police Department. The report shows that despite African Americans
Police Department’s own data give “validity to the widely held belief that the police have
In a recent report by the independent monitor of the remedial
or gender identity. The new guidance eliminates the exception made in the former guidance
African American women constitute 21 per cent of the imprisoned female
population. The incarceration rate for African American males is 5.9 times higher than the
rate for white males, while the rate for African American females is 2.1 times higher than
line and with low levels of educational attainment, have been placed in detention centers,
police and the communities they serve”,
Second report of the independent monitor, February 2016. See https://ccrjustice.org/sites/default/
Guidance for Federal Law Enforcement Agencies Regarding the Use of Race, Ethnicity, Gender,
National Origin, Religion, Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity, December 2014. See
Executive Office of the President of the United States, “
impact on African Americans and that mass incarceration was considered a system of racial
worked to enhance common-sense sentencing reforms by reducing disparities in the
records. Furthermore, white men with a criminal record had more positive responses in job
applications than African American men with no criminal record even when their work
federal hiring process. Grantees of the Department of Labor’s Re-entry Employment
The Working Group is concerned about inadequate conditions of detention and
In 2014, with the support of the Department of Justice, the independent United States Sentencing
Commission voted to amend federal sentencing guidelines for certain drug crimes. This change in
sentencing guidelines will prospectively reduce the federal prison population by 6,500 prisoners over
American communities emphasized that the privatization of detention centres might tend to
states children can still be tried as adults, and that around 10,000 children are housed in
Health and Mental Hygiene on the records of first-time inmates in the New York City jail
establishment of a data system to report on the use of solitary confinement. The Working
Roper v. Simmons, 543 U.S. 551 (2005).
Graham v. Florida, 560 U.S. 48 (2010).
Department of Justice, Report and recommendations concerning the use of restrictive housing, 2016.
Available from http://www.justice.gov/restrictivehousing.
applicable to the federal prison system.
defendants convicted for killing African Americans, while 230 were African American
considered that prosecutors had violated Batson v. Kentucky (1986) regarding race-based
many African Americans and they have led campaigns to have it removed, however it still
Holder, struck down parts of the Voting Rights Act, thereby making it easier to put in place
Disparities in access to education, health, housing and employment
The cumulative impact of racially motivated discrimination faced by African
Americans in the enjoyment of their rights to education, health, housing and employment,
among other economic, social, cultural and environmental rights, has had serious
consequences for their overall well-being. Racial discrimination continues to be systemic
and rooted in an economic model that denies development to the poorest African American
communities. More than 10 million (26 per cent) of African Americans remain mired in
poverty, and of that figure, almost half (12 per cent) live in what is known as “deep
Foster v. Chatman, 578 U.S. (2016).
The Working Group is concerned about reports that across the country there are
police officers in schools, without appropriate training, arresting children for minor
offences and dealing with behavior that previously would be handled as part of a school
disciplinary process, resulting in the criminalization of children’s behavior and severe
punishment. The police have the authority to detain, frisk and arrest children in school. For
example, a black female student was violently arrested by a school resource officer at
Spring Valley High School in South Carolina in 2015. Zero tolerance policies and heavy-
handed efforts to increase security in schools have led to the excessive penalization and
harassment of African American children through racial profiling. African American
children are more likely to face harsh disciplinary measures than white children and are
being pushed out of school into the criminal justice system — a phenomenon that has been
The Working Group is concerned by the underfunding and closure of schools,
particularly those in poor neighborhoods with significant African American populations.
The Working Group was particularly concerned to learn of threats to close Chicago State
University, a historically black university.
In school curricula, the historical facts concerning the period of colonization, the
transatlantic trade in Africans, and enslavement, which have been crucial to the
organization of contemporary American society, are not sufficiently covered in all schools.
The curricula in some states fail to address adequately the root causes of racial inequality
and injustice. This contributes to the structural invisibility of African Americans.
The Working Group also received information about de facto segregation of schools.
This segregation appears to be nurtured by a culture rooted in the legacy of racial inequality
and by failure to address the history of racial injustice, enslavement and the Jim Crow laws.
The Working Group noted that a number of factors contributed to the disparities
faced by African Americans in realizing the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable
standard of health, which included lack of access to health insurance coverage, lack of
access to preventive services and care, and shortcomings related to a lack of diversity and
of cultural competency among those giving the care. While the implementation of the
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has led to 20 million people getting health
insurance coverage, states with some of the widest health disparities in the country have
rejected expansion of Medicaid, one of the main tools to cover the uninsured. Nine out of
ten people who fall into the coverage gap live in the South, and black adults are more likely
The Working Group learned that African Americans had limited access to food
variety, including to healthy food, as they were concentrated in poor neighbourhoods with
food outlets selling unhealthy and even expired food. African Americans have the highest
rates of obesity, which is linked to “food deserts”.
segregation in many of the metropolitan areas in the United States. In the Working Group’s
meeting with the Department of Housing and Urban Development, a series of maps were
shown which not only starkly depicted high concentrations of African American families in
low-income neighborhoods and districts, but also reflected the correlation between racial
segregation and socioeconomic disparities in access to health, education, and even access to
adequate food, between the African American population and the white population. The
Working Group was informed that people of African descent were more likely than other
people with similar borrower characteristics to be victims of predatory lending, to receive
higher-cost loans and to lose their homes to foreclosure. The Department of Housing and
also informed about “racial steering”, a practice employed
African American people are also concerned that they are disproportionately
exposed to environmental hazards that impact on their health and standard of living. They
are often forced to live in disadvantaged areas with hazardous environments (e.g. in
proximity to industrial toxicity, power stations, flood zones and so on) and without access
to social and commercial facilities. The most polluting industrial facilities, across a range of
sectors from farming and mining to manufacturing, are more likely to be situated in poor
and minority neighborhoods, including those of people of African descent. For instance, the
Working Group is concerned about the possible health risks to African Americans on
account of the incinerator project in Curtis Bay, Baltimore, and the lead-contaminated
water in Flint, Michigan. The Working Group was also informed about the destruction of
public housing in some cities; at the same time, public funding for new houses appears to
be insufficient to meet the demands for new housing.
According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, in 2015, of the
more than half a million homeless people in the United States, African Americans
constituted 40.4 per cent. They also constituted 27.8 per cent of the homeless people who
Despite the recovery of the United States economy, the impact of the 2008 and 2009
recession on African Americans is still very much present. The unemployment rate among
African Americans is almost twice the national unemployment rate. The Working Group is
particularly concerned about the level of unemployment among young African Americans
without a high school degree. In 2014, the annual income for African Americans was just
under half the income of white Americans who are not Hispanic.
People of African descent continue to be underrepresented in management positions.
In 2013, they accounted for only 7 per cent of workers in management occupations. Instead,
African Americans disproportionately work in temporary jobs with less security and lower
salaries. Nearly half a million African Americans earn the minimum wage. The Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission continues to receive more than 30,000 complaints a
year concerning racial discrimination.
Multiple forms of discrimination
The Working Group studied intersectionality of the different forms of discrimination
faced by people of African descent and heard experiences of racial discrimination based on
ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic status, sex and gender identity. The Working Group is
particularly concerned by the increasing number of murders of transgender women of
African descent and the increasing level of violence affecting them. Racial discrimination
also disparately impedes the ability of African American women to maintain overall good
health, control their sexuality and reproduction, survive pregnancy and childbirth, and
The Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent shares the findings of
the Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice in
Conclusions and recommendations
government departments and agencies, which implement the civil rights laws through
recommendations of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, to
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Pregnancy mortality surveillance system. See
series of executive actions to reduce the use of solitary confinement at the federal level
Keeper and the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African
on Federal Corrections, which concluded that punitive mandatory sentences for drug
additional states since the Working Group’s visit to the United States in 2010, as this
with the adoption of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which has
levels. The Working Group welcomes the measures taken in New York City that
the home foreclosure crisis that had especially affected African Americans. The
United States, which has successfully advocated for social change. Following the
concerned about the human rights situation of African Americans. In particular, the
and the tough-on-crime policies disproportionately impact African Americans.
determine when and how to present charges; and (c) the fact that some federal, state
frequent use of mandatory minimums and of “three strikes” rules), longer prison
of juvenile offenders as adults, among others. The United States is also not acting with
identified that the federal, state and county regulations that are not in line with
incarceration practices must be measured in human lives — particularly the
which disproportionately affects African Americans. There has been an increase in
Amnesty International has identified that state law on the use of force fails to comply with
international standards, which require that lethal force should only be used as a last resort by law
enforcement officials when strictly necessary to protect themselves or others against imminent threat
of death or serious injury. See Amnesty International, “Deadly force: police use of lethal force in the
United States” (2015). Available from
Ferguson Police Department, in some jurisdictions the imposition of fines is a way to
guaranteeing better security to their communities; nor have they been offered
African Americans and law enforcement officials. Also, some parts of the media
The Working Group expresses deep concern about the continued existence of
Group remains concerned about its use in prisons, juvenile detention centers and
them at risk of sexual assault and abuse. Juveniles should be treated as juveniles, no
expectancy, income and wealth, level of education, and even food security, between
young African Americans. People from poor black neighborhoods are more likely to
African Americans in many cities are facing a housing crisis, in which people
place in the 1960s and 1970s, has had a positive impact by redressing individual and
independence of federal, state and county jurisdictions, and the lack of direct
cannot be invoked in national courts, as in most cases there is no enabling legislation
efforts to combat all forms of racism, racial discrimination, Afrophobia, xenophobia
The Working Group reiterates the recommendation that it made after its visit
to the United States of America in 2010 to establish a national human rights
commission in accordance with the principles relating to the status of national
institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights (Paris Principles). The
Government should establish within this body a specific division to monitor the
human rights of African Americans.
In addition to the above, the Working Group urges the Government of the
United States of America to consider the ratification of the core international human
rights treaties to which the United States is still not a party, with a view to removing
any gaps in the protection and full enjoyment of rights therein. It also encourages the
United States to ratify regional human rights treaties and to review the reservations
related to the treaties that it has signed or ratified.
Federal and state laws should be adopted that incorporate the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and 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, the legislature and the judiciary at
both the federal and the state levels, who will take steps to give effect to 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 of regional human rights bodies.
There is a profound need to acknowledge that the transatlantic trade in
Africans, enslavement, colonization and colonialism were a crime against humanity
and are among the major sources and manifestations of racism, racial discrimination,
Afrophobia, xenophobia and related intolerance. Past injustices and crimes against
African Americans need to be addressed with reparatory justice.
Monuments, memorials and markers should be erected to facilitate public
dialogue. Education must be accompanied by acts of reconciliation, to overcome acts
of racial bigotry and legacies of racial injustice. Federal and state legislation should be
passed recognizing the negative impact of enslavement and racial injustice.
During the International Decade for People of African Descent, public forums
or hearings should be held with African Americans in order to create a constructive
and open dialogue in which organizations and social movements can share experiences
and engage with policymakers and institutions of the local, state and federal
government on ways to address the crisis being experienced by American society.
to Study Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act — which would establish a
commission to examine enslavement and racial discrimination in the colonies and the
United States from 1619 to the present and to recommend appropriate remedies. The
The Working Group encourages the Government of the United States of
America to elaborate a national action plan to fully implement the International
The Government should increase engagement with human rights organizations
and civil society and should fund them with the aim of implementing the universal
The Working Group urges the Government to ensure that recent policies
undertaken to address racial disparities will be further implemented at the federal
and state levels.
— the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015 — which among other things
with appropriate sanctions; by ensuring that investigations are re-opened when new
prevent excessive use of force by law enforcement officials by ensuring compliance
misdemeanor law in South Carolina under which school disturbance constitutes a
and protection must be given to students with autism, attention deficit hyperactivity
Supports and restorative practices in school discipline should be used in order to
should be separated from adults. Alternatives to imprisonment for youth, such as
In imposing sentences, the welfare of the family of the accused should be taken
into account, with particular attention given to the best interests of the child.
Appropriate measures should be adopted to prevent excessive bail. Alternatives
to detention should also be explored.
Community policing strategies should be developed to give the community
control of the police that are there to protect and serve them. The Working Group
recommends that communities establish boards that would elect police officers they
want playing this important role.
Before non-payment of a court fine or fee is treated as a civil contempt of court
charge, it should first be determined whether the individual has the ability to pay.
Imprisonment should not be offered as a way of paying off the debt. If the debt cannot
be paid, the fee should not be levied.
The Working Group also recommends that the prison reform processes and
policies include specific policies to address the increasing rate of incarceration of
African American women.
Solitary confinement should be banned absolutely for being in violation of
international human rights law standards, particularly those found in the Convention
against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
and in the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.
The Working Group recommends that the Government allow independent
monitoring of places of detention in the United States, and in this connection that it
consider inviting the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or
degrading treatment or punishment. As part of a call for greater expression of
commitment to the rights of detainees, the Working Group takes the opportunity to
urge the Government to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against
Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which
creates a mechanism for unrestricted and unannounced visits to places of detention.
International human rights standards should be observed in the criminal
justice system. The Working Group recommends the abolition of the death penalty
throughout the United States.
The Working Group calls upon the Government to ensure that all states repeal
laws that restrict voting rights. In particular, it urges reinstatement of the voting
rights of persons convicted of a felony who have completed their sentences.
Targeted measures should be developed to raise awareness of and reduce
crimes against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex community,
in particular against transgender women.
Asylum seekers should not be imprisoned pending a determination of their
application for refugee status. The right to counsel and the right to an interpreter
should be respected at all times.
The Working Group recommends extending access to affordable health care to
a greater part of the population. Health policies and programmes should place
particular priority on access to quality and affordable health care with targeted goals
for reducing the maternal mortality of African American women.
Consistently, the school curriculum in each state should reflect appropriately
the history of the transatlantic trade in Africans, enslavement and segregation.
The Department of Education should study zero tolerance policies and their
disparate impact on African American students. A task force should be created to
specifically focus on realigning and re-engaging students who have been dismissed
from educational institutions as part of a zero tolerance policy.
The Working Group recommends upholding the right to adequate standards of
living, including adequate food, housing, and safe drinking water and sanitation. The
Government should immediately halt the demolition of public housing if replacement
units have not been guaranteed. All such activities must be undertaken only through
prior and informed consent and with the participation of the people affected.
The Working Group urges the Government to strengthen the implementation
of Executive Order 12898, including through the allocation of adequate resources.
The Government of the United States of America should undertake a review of
policies to improve protection of the environment and ensure that environmental
justice is provided.
The Working Group encourages the Government to undertake impact-oriented
activities in the framework of the International Decade for People of African Descent