UN Human Rights Council to hold ‘urgent debate’ on racism and police brutality on June 17

Following a three-month-long break due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN Human Rights Council announced on Monday that it was greenlighting a debate “on racism, alleged police brutality and violence against protesters sickened by the killing of American George Floyd in police custody.”

“The tragic events of 25 May in Minneapolis in the US which led to the death of George Floyd led to protests throughout the world against injustice and police brutality that persons of African descent face on a daily basis in many regions of the world,” said Dieudonné W. Désiré Sougouri, Permanent Representative of Burkina Faso to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva. “The death of George Floyd is unfortunately not an isolated incident.”

According to the UN, Désiré Sougouri then called upon the Human Rights Council to organize the “urgent debate” on “current violations of human rights that are based on racism, systemic racism, police brutality against persons of African descent and violence against peaceful demonstrations to call for an end to be put to these injustices."

The debate has been scheduled for Wednesday, June 17 at 3 p.m., according to the UN, which also noted that it was not clear if family members of George Floyd had been invited to speak to the council.

The NAACP had previously called on the United Nations to classify the mistreatment black individuals in the U.S. by members of the police as a human rights violation. 

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The NAACP, the nation’s oldest and largest grassroots civil rights organization, has also called for sweeping police reform in response to Floyd’s death, as well as the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and others “at the hands of current or former law enforcement officers.”

George Floyd died on May 25 after Derek Chauvin, a Minneapolis police officer, knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. 

His death ushered in a wave of protests against racism and police brutality in major cities around the world while renewing discussions on necessary reform within the policing and criminal justice systems. Multiple changes on the local and state level have already been proposed or enacted.

RELATED: What cities and states are doing to reform policing policies following George Floyd's death