By LEANDRA ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE Bahamas has joined the international chorus calling for "an urgent debate on racism” as people across the world continue to protest police-involved violence against black people, which was sparked by the killing of George Floyd – an unarmed African American man who died in Minneapolis last month.
This comes following the end of a debate on human rights violations, systemic racism and police brutality, which was hosted by The United Nation Human Rights Council (UNHRC) earlier this week.
During the debate, members had called for an independent investigation into Floyd’s death and killings of black people in the US and abroad, but the draft was rejected and a more comprehensive approach to the issue was called for instead.
On Friday, the UNHRC unanimously adopted a resolution calling for a report “on systemic racism, violations of international human rights law against Africans and people of African descent by law enforcement agencies.”
The mandate, which will be headed by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachele, also calls for an examination “into government responses to anti-racism peaceful process, peaceful protests, including the alleged use of excessive force against protesters, bystanders and journalists”.
In a statement released on Friday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it welcomed the adoption of the resolution, noting that officials are looking forward to having discussions on the human rights issues. Officials also reaffirmed the country’s commitment to protect “the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights" of people.
“As a nation of majority people of African descent, with a shared history of slavery, we condemn all forms of racism and believe that equal treatment is a human right founded in natural justice,” the statement read.
“Today, the international community, by way of consensus adopted a draft resolution to further promote and protect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of Africans and people of African descent. In its statement to the UNHRC, The Bahamas reaffirmed its commitment to ‘eradicating racism and protecting the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of all’," the statement read.
“The Bahamas looks forward to engaging with other member states on the question of racism and human rights, which is of grave concern and needs to be eradicated wherever it raises its intolerable head.”
Floyd’s death has sparked nationwide protests against police brutality and excessive force used on unarmed black people. The incident has even reignited conversations about police brutality in the country.
The draft resolution is entitled, “the promotion and protection of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of Africans and people of African descent against excessive use of force and other human rights violations by law enforcement officers".