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HRC56: Human Rights Council renews expert mechanism on racial justice, equality, law enforcement

Council members extended the EMLER mandate to 2027, recognizing the value of the mechanism’s work over the past three years, as well as the need for experts to continue to examine states’ law enforcement practices and their impact on African and Afro-descendant people and communities.

“We welcome the EMLER renewal and the states’ decision to preserve this unique mechanism for global anti-racist accountability,” reacted Lamar Bailey, Coalition Director of the United Nations Anti-Racism Coalition (UNARC). “Through their country visits and reporting work, experts have given a platform to communities that have long endured the consequences of racist law enforcement policies. Their reports are a powerful and evidence-based blueprint for much-needed transformation that governments everywhere should consult. More states should open their doors to them to facilitate this crucial work,” stressed Bailey.

Following Gambia’s presentation of the resolution, South Africathe United States, Costa Rica and China took the floor to urge the Council to adopt it by consensus.

“We reiterate our view that racism has no place in our society,” said the South African delegation, supporting the renewal, while US representatives noted the value of the experts’ country visits, stressing that while such visits are not easy. ‘, they are “important tools for transparency, accountability and good governance”.

EMLER was formed in response to the global outcry and anti-racist movement that arose after the killing of George Floyd by American police officers in June 2020. The Council of States established the mechanism by consensus in July 2021tasked with promoting and protecting “the human rights and fundamental freedoms of Africans and people of African descent against excessive use of force and other human rights abuses by law enforcement agencies”.

Since the start of their mandate, experts have led country visits to Swedenthe United States and Brazil, reports to the Council at various sessions. Their latest land mission to Italyimplemented in 2024, will be discussed at the Council’s 57th session in September next year.

EMLER mandate holders’ landmark visits to the US and Brazil served both to formally and thoroughly assess the day-to-day effects of systemic racism in the policing of law enforcement services in both countries, to document deep-rooted causes, and to collect and highlight testimonies from affected communities.

After their visit, special experts have visited them US authorities to establish “national standards for the use of force” and conduct “federal criminal investigations of cases of excessive use of force by law enforcement agencies,” while urging Government of Brazil to “reevaluate the current procedures for investigating law enforcement misconduct, eliminate systemic racial inequities, and invest in addressing the historical disparities that underlie these issues.”

Interventions by experts at the Human Rights Council also allowed people directly affected by the use of excessive force or other discriminatory law enforcement practices to speak to states directly, with victims’ representatives addressing the body in 2022 and 2023.

The full membership of the United Nations Anti-Racism Coalition (UNARC) calls on all States to cooperate fully with the expert mechanism during its mandate, to consult and draw from its detailed reports and research, and to give it full and unhindered access to support it’s work.

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