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People who have been victim to racism need reparations

In a landmark report, the U.N. human rights chief has urged countries to do more to end discrimination and violence against people of African descent, and to "make amends" with them, including through reparations.

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People who have been victim to racism need reparations

Michelle Bachelet (the U.N. High Commissar for Human Rights) offers a comprehensive look at the causes of centuries of abuse faced by Africans and peoples of African descent, especially from the transatlantic slavery trade. It proposes a "transformative approach" to address the ongoing impact of this mistreatment.

This report, which has been a year in making, seeks to continue the momentum from the intensified global scrutiny of racism and its effect on people of African descent, as illustrated by the high-profile killings in America of unarmed Black men.

The report stated that "There is a pivotal opportunity today to achieve racial equality justice."

This report will help countries take swift action to end racial inequality; end impunity for police rights violations; ensure that people of African descent, and those speaking out against racism, are heard; and confront past wrongs through accountability.

Bachelet stated in a video that she was calling for all countries to stop denial of racism and begin to dismantle it. He also called on states to build trust and end impunity; listen to people of African descent and confront their past and provide redress.

Bachelet raised the topic of reparation in the most direct way she has yet to. She suggested that monetary compensation is not sufficient and should be considered as part of a range of measures to correct or make right the injustices.

She wrote that "reparations should not be equated only with financial compensation," adding that they should include restitution and rehabilitation, acknowledgment of injustices, apology, memorialization, educational Reforms, and "guarantees that such injustices will never happen again."

Bachelet, who was Chile's former president, spoke highly of advocacy groups such as Black Lives Matter, saying that they have helped to provide "grassroots leadership through listening" to communities and should be given "funding, recognition, and support."

After Floyd's murder, a Black American was shot and killed by a Minneapolis police officer in May 2020, the U.N.-backed Human Rights Council requested the report. Derek Chauvin was sentenced last week to 22-1/2 year imprisonment.

After Floyd repeatedly gasped, the bystanders video captured it. Onlookers shouted at Chauvin to stop pressing Floyd's neck with his knee.

According to the report, the protests against Floyd's murder and the "momentous verdict" against Chauvin were a "seminal moment in the fight against racism."

The rights office stated that the report was based upon discussions with more than 340 people, mainly of African descent, and experts, and more than 100 written contributions, including those from governments, and review of public material.

It examined 190 deaths mostly in the U.S. to demonstrate how police officers are not held responsible for crimes against African-Americans and rights violations.

The final goal of the report is to transform these opportunities into a more systematic response by governments to racism in all countries, not just the United States. However, the injustices and legacy that slavery, racism, and violence have faced by African Americans was evidently a major theme.

The report included information on cases, concerns, and the current situation in 60 countries, including France, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, and Canada.

Mona Rishmawi heads the non-discrimination unit in Bachelet's Office. "We couldn't find one example of a state which has fully accounted for the past or fully accounted for the effects of the lives people of African descent live today." "This situation is unacceptable," we say.

Rishmawi stated that compensation should be considered at both the "collective" and the "individual" levels. She also said that countries need to examine their pasts and current practices in order to determine how to proceed.

Rishmawi stated that Bachelet's team discovered that "a major problem is that many people believe that the abolition or colonialism, transatlantic trade, and colonialism have eliminated the discriminatory structures that were created by these practices."

Rishmawi said, "We found out that this is false." He also condemned the idea of some "associating Blackness with crime... there is an urgent need to address this."

The report called for countries to "make amends" for centuries of violence, discrimination and racism through formal acknowledgment and apologies as well as truth-telling and reparations.

It also condemned the "dehumanization" of people of African descent that was "rootedin false social constructions" of race in the past to justify slavery, racial stereotypes, harmful practices, as well as tolerance of racial inequality, violence, and discrimination.

The report stated that people of African descent are subject to inequalities in many countries and "stark socioeconomical and political marginalization". This includes inequalities in accessing education, health care, housing, and clean water.

Rishmawi stated that "we believe very strongly" that the report only touches the tip of an iceberg. We believe there is much more to do.

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