Thursday, 24 September, 2020

Iran backs emergency UN human rights meeting on George Floyd’s murder

The Foreign Ministry voices support for a two-day emergency meeting of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva addressing the brutal murder of an African-American citizen by a Minneapolis police officer last month and the broader issue of racism in the United States that has been fueling such atrocities.

The gathering kicked off on Wednesday, hosting an address via video-link by the victim’s brother Philonise, who urged the UN body to investigate police brutality and racial discrimination in the United States. It is to hold its second part on Thursday.

“Iran backs the idea behind holding this meeting,” Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi said on Wednesday. The Islamic Republic, he added, is of the opinion that the United Nations-associated human rights resources and mechanisms have to “be geared towards confrontation of such phenomena as racism.”

In line with its religious, cultural, and national teachings, the Islamic Republic has always acted as a pioneer of fighting and confronting racism, the official noted. Tehran believes that systematic racism in some parts of the world, especially the US, has to be tackled at its roots, he noted.

Disturbing footage emerged on May 25 showing the officer choking unarmed Floyd to death by pinning him down with his knee.

The officer refused to relieve the pressure although Floyd was heard repeatedly pleading for his life and saying, “I can’t breathe.” The officers had been called to the scene, a Cup Foods’ store on the 3700 block of Chicago Avenue South, after the victim was reported to be attempting to use forged documents.

“What we are bearing witness to in US society today is the upshot of systematic racism and injustice that has existed and continues to exist across the pillars and structures of the US’s political establishment,” Mousavi said.

He regretted that the brutality had taken place despite decades of human rights activism at the UN, and on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the announcement of the Durban Declaration and Program of Action, a historic anti-racism communiqué.

The spokesman, therefore, urged that the global fight against racism “enter a new era” that would last until eradication of the phenomenon.

Addressing the Geneva summit, Floyd’s brother pushed for the creation of an independent commission to investigate American police killings of black people and the violence that has been used against the demonstrators, who have been peacefully protesting the murder.

Mousavi also communicated the Islamic Republic’s support for a related resolution that has been drafted by African countries at the UN body.

Activists and diplomats were, however, cited by Reuters as saying that US and Australian officials had lobbied those countries to tone down their draft text.

The latest draft, seen by the news agency, does not name the US or set up a UN commission of inquiry. The revised text only proposes that the office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet “establish the facts and circumstances relating to systemic racism” and alleged use of excessive force, and report back in a year.

Mousavi, meanwhile, reminded that apart from the American people, nations across other parts of the world have also fallen prey to racist and unjust approaches adopted by various American administrations.

“Nations in other countries too have had very bitter experiences of US administrations’ discriminatory attitudes and approaches that have been accompanied by oppression and injustice,” he said.

“Responsibility for such attitudes falls squarely on the US administration,” the official asserted.

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