Washington DC, January 30, 2023.– In light of the evidence of the racist police violence that led to the death of the young African-American Tyre Nichols, the International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights (Race and Equality) issues its strongest condemnation of the events and calls attention to the persistence of racism and disproportionate use of force by police in the United States and around the world.
Once again, we see how systemic racism manifests itself in brutal and deadly ways. The verbal and physical violence of the five officers who attacked Nichols are indicative of the dehumanization that weighs on African-American lives, just as it did in the arrest that led to the death of George Floyd in May 2020.
Given the fact that the five police officers in question are also African-American, we emphasize that systemic racism must be viewed beyond the skin color of the people who reproduce its manifestations. It is, in short, a set of expressions – and also omissions – that lead to a dehumanizing treatment of people of African descent and African-Americans, especially those of low income.
A few days after commemorating Martin Luther King, Jr.’s struggle for racial equality (January 16) and on the eve of Black History Month, Race and Equality calls attention to the seriousness of these facts and reiterates the urgency of implementing an action plan to unravel, once and for all, systemic racism in the U.S. police forces, taking into account international mechanisms for combating racist police violence and promoting racial justice.
We also stress the importance in this context of the visit to the United States of the Expert Mechanism to Promote Justice and Racial Equality in Law Enforcement (EMLER), to be held from April 24 to May 5. We urge its members to schedule a visit to the city of Memphis to reinforce its mission in light of new developments, the outcry of the victims, and the demands and proposals of civil society fighting for racial equality.