The United States has been heavily criticised for its anti-Black police violence, separation of migrant children, and use of the death penalty, from the United Nations.
Allies called out the US’s troubling record after a five-year hiatus in reviewing the country’s problems, with the Human Rights Council having not examined their actions since May 2015. They also cite the reason as being down to the impact of Trumpism, as things have worsened and remained unchecked under his administration.
Trump’s policies were largely to blame, which can also include the rhetoric he’s pushed on social media, claim activists. The current president’s attitudes towards race, division, criminal punishment, and non-Americans entering the country, are all thought to have played a role. Members have implored President-elect Joe Biden to seek reform and steer the USA into a more positive direction.
‘What we saw today was unsurprising condemnation by many countries around the world of the United States’ human rights record,’ expressed director of the human rights program at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Jamil Dakwar, as numerous delegates used their time during the half-day session to share their concerns.
‘We’ve heard country after country … calling and urging the United States to take serious measures to address structural racism and police violence,’ he further said, according to Reuters.
However, despite the dozens of voices that took to the floor, and years of harsh condemnation directed towards Trump’s own policies, his administration hit back with denial.
‘Our presence in this process demonstrates our nation’s commitment to human rights,’ US Assistant Secretary of State, Robert Destro, said during the talks.
2018 saw the Trump administration controversially remove itself from from the Geneva floor, citing an anti-Israel bias and defended its own policies.
One of the biggest talking points around racial equality and the treatment of African-Americans on US soil, speifically the murder of George Floyd. The incident captured the attention of the world, resulting in protests and riots across the US, and throughout other countries.
Alexander Maugeri, the US deputy assistant attorney general, spoke about the need to examine how incidents such as this are allowed to happen. ‘A number of member states raised concerns about discrimination and excessive force in policing,’ he said. ‘Where there is misconduct by police officers or law enforcement agencies, state and federal law provide remedies.’
Representatives from China and Russia called out the US to tackle systemic racism and the problem they experience with police violence, while Cuba and Venezuela said the country must provide adequate healthcare for its citizens during the coronavirus pandemic.
France also urged the US to stop federal level executions, close down Guantanamo Bay for good, and protect women’s rights in order to ‘guarantee women and girls access to their rights and sexual and reproductive health’.
British representatives also spoke up, calling for the US to ensure ‘access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services’.
Abortion rights (or lack of them) was also high on the agenda, as Denice Labertew, of the Women LEAD network, said: ‘The United States made clear that they don’t see abortion as a human right,’ with more than a dozen nations stating their worry about the country’s lack of consideration over family planning.
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