International Commission of Inquiry on Systemic Racist Police Violence against People of African Descent in the United States

In June 2020, the U.N. Human Rights Council (HRC) strongly condemned “the continuing racially discriminatory and violent practices perpetrated by law enforcement agencies against Africans and people of African descent,” noting in particular the death of George Floyd on 25 May 2020 in Minnesota, and the deaths of other people of African descent. The HRC also condemned structural racism in the criminal justice system and, by Resolution A/HRC/RES/43/1, mandated the High Commissioner to prepare a report on systemic racism, and violations of international human rights law against Africans and people of African descent by law enforcement agencies globally.

Recognizing that killings and maimings of unarmed Black people by police authorities in the United States escalate unabated and that effective domestic remedies are either non-existent or exacerbated by the policies of the federal government of the United States, the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL), the National Conference of Black Lawyers (NCBL), and the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) decided to convene this International Commission of Inquiry.

Hearings for the Commission will take place between January 18 and February 6, 2021. The Commission will issue a Final Report of its findings for submission to the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights, relevant officials, and the public.

Convening Organizations

National Conference of Black Lawyers

The National Conference of Black Lawyers (NCBL) is an American association, formed in 1968, to offer legal assistance to black civil rights activists. NCBL is made up of judges, law students, lawyers, legal activists, legal workers, and scholars. Our mission is: “To protect human rights, to achieve self-determination of Africa and African Communities and to work in coalition to assist in ending the oppression of all peoples.” NCBL is a bar association whose primary focus is on the welfare of the Black community. We are the legal arm of the Movement for Black Liberation.

International Association of Democratic Lawyers

Since the founding of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers in 1946 in Paris, IADL members have participated in the struggles that have made the violation of human rights of groups and individuals and threats to international peace and security, legal issues under international law. From its inception, IADL members throughout the globe have protested racism, colonialism, and economic and political injustice wherever they interfere with legal and human rights, often at the cost of these jurists personal safety and economic well being.

National Lawyers Guild

The National Lawyers Guild is the nation’s oldest and largest progressive bar association and was the first one in the US to be racially integrated. Our mission is to use law for the people, uniting lawyers, law students, legal workers, and jailhouse lawyers to function as an effective force in the service of the people by valuing human rights and the rights of ecosystems over property interests.

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