Faith, Civil and Human Rights Groups Join to Urge Official Visit by UN Independent Expert to Investigate Racism in the United States

WASHINGTON: Today a broad coalition of religious and civil rights leaders will deliver a letter to Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo requesting an official invitation to Professor E. Tendayi Achiume, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, to the United States.

Jamil Dakwar and Rev. Aundreia Alexander deliver letter to State Dept., March 21, 2019

This letter, signed by approximately one hundred organizations, requests that Achiume “conduct an official fact-finding visit to examine the historic and present marks of racism and racial discrimination that have presented new and renewed, alarming trends of racism in the United States.” It also points out that “the last Special Rapporteur on Racism visit to the United States was in 2008 at the invitation of the George W. Bush administration. That timely visit enjoyed bipartisan support.”

March 21 is the United Nations’ International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, commemorating the 1960 massacre of 69 persons at a peaceful demonstration in Sharpeville, South Africa, as they protested the apartheid “pass laws.” The United Nations notes that “racist extremist movements based on ideologies that seek to promote populist, nationalist agendas are spreading in various parts of the world, fueling racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, often targeting migrants and refugees as well as people of African descent.

This timely letter states: “While we appreciate the U.S.’s stated commitment to fighting racism, we believe that commitment ought to manifest itself in tangible actions rather than only words. We are deeply concerned by credible reports indicating a frightening resurgence in white supremacy, which has led to a rise in racism and hate crimes against racial, ethnic, and religious minority communities both in the US and abroad as evidenced by the recent horrific and unspeakable mass murder in New Zealand.”

For comment, please contact Rev. Aundreia Alexander, Associate General Secretary for Action and Advocacy at the National Council of Churches of Christ, USA at [email protected] or at 202-481-6928, or Mr. Jamil Dakwar, Director of the Human Rights Program at the American Civil Liberties Union either at [email protected] or at 917-495-5579.

Read the letter here

 

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