Geneva: A US ambassador said Wednesday that Washington ‘is committed to addressing its shortcomings, including racial discrimination’. It and is being transparent about holding violators accountable — as the United Nation’s top human rights body was taking up an urgent debate. Andrew Bremberg, the US ambassador in Geneva, noted that President Donald Trump has condemned the actions of police officers linked to the May 25 death of George Floyd. Trump also signed Tuesday an executive order on police reform.
Floyd was a black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee into his neck for several minutes. George Floyd pleaded for air and eventually stopped moving.
“The United States recognises and is committed to addressing its shortcomings. It includes racial discrimination, and injustices that stem from such discrimination, that persist in our society,” Bremberg said. “Every democracy faces challenges – the difference is how we deal with them,” he added.
The executive order, Bremberg said in a statement, was ‘an example of how transparent and responsive our government leaders are in holding violators accountable for their actions and reforming our own system’.
The comments came as the Human Rights Council in Geneva, following a call championed by African nations, was set to take up an ‘urgent debate’ on “racially inspired human rights violations, systematic racism, police brutality and the violence against peaceful protests.”
The UN-backed council, which counts 47 member states, was also discussing a draft resolution floated by the ‘Africa Group’ that singles out the United States.
The text calls for a commission of inquiry — the rights body’s most powerful tool to inspect rights violations — to look into ‘systemic racism’ and abuses against ‘Africans and of people of African descent’ in the US and beyond.
Bremberg called the US the world’s ‘leading advocate’ for human rights. “We are not above scrutiny. However, any HRC (Human Rights Council) resolution on this topic that calls out countries by name should be inclusive, noting the many countries where racism is a problem,” he stated in a statement.
“We call upon all governments to demonstrate the same level of transparency and accountability that the US and our democratic partners practice,” Bremberg added.