Comment by the Information and Press Department on a statement by the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent on the situation in the United States

February 5, 2016

It was with great interest that we read the preliminary conclusions and recommendations issued by the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent at the UN Human Rights Council following its visit to the United States. While noting progress in combating racial discrimination, the UN experts expressed concern about the alarming levels of police brutality, including that connected with racial prejudice and bias. The Working Group also writes about the persistent gap in the standards of living among African Americans and the rest of the US population, including in education, housing, employment and even food security. The UN experts write that racial profiling remains a rampant practice, with excessive penalisation and harassment of African American children.

We believe that the status quo is largely due to the US stance on the issue, in particular its failure to sign many international treaties or adopt them without reservations, not to mention its failure to support UN General Assembly declarations and other documents on combating racism and racial discrimination, such as the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action. We hope that this time, and taking into account the alarming situation in combating racial discrimination, the United States will heed the recommendations of the Working Group and will take practical measures to improve their situation.