EACH AND EVERY YEAR, the United States Department of State reports on Human Rights Practices covering internationally recognized individual, civil, political, and worker rights, as set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international agreements.
THE STATE OF 2020 SO FAR, dominated by wave of police killings which has fueled massive protests across the U.S., will no doubt make the year-end report one of the most keenly anticipated in recent memory.
IN CITIES ACROSS the world, global citizens have taken to the streets to protest in solidarity with the late George Floyd, slain at the hands of Minnesota police officers while he screamed “I can’t breathe’.
GEORGE’S LAST cry has become a symbol of a global condemnation of wanton killings of black men and women in what was once the most respected nation on planet earth.
IN LIBERIA, protesters last week, carried placards with various inscriptions speaking against attacks against the black race in America.
IN ABUJA, NIGERIA, US Embassy staff made absolute solidarity for the protests that have rocked the US by joining protesters and going down on one knee, a gesture that shows support for the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement.
IN CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA, protesters stood outside parliament in solidarity with US protestors condemning racial injustice following Floyd’s killing in Minneapolis. Demonstrators carried signs with slogans such as “Stop police brutality,” “Black lives matter,” “White silence = Violence,” and “Justice for George Floyd and Collins Khosa,” the last referring to a resident of Alexandra township north of Johannesburg who recently died after being allegedly assaulted by soldiers.
ACROSS THE GLOBE, George’s last cry that he couldn’t breathe is resonating. From Berlin to Paris and London, the cries and tears have not stopped pouring.
THE US EMBASSY in Monrovia, in response to the recent protests, posted a statement from Alyson Grunder, Chargé d’Affaires this week, sharing and appreciating the deep concerns and sorrow that Liberians, from the most senior levels of government to ordinary citizens, who have expressed to us in recent days regarding the tragic killing of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis.
SAID GRUNDER: “We grieve for his family and community, which includes members of the Liberian diaspora and U.S. Embassy employees from Minnesota. The peaceful protests in which thousands of Americans have taken part across the United States demonstrate determination to put in place meaningful reforms, seek accountability, including through criminal investigations at the federal and state levels and in the legal system, and address the racial discrimination that is an all-too-present reality for many Americans. These protests are sincere and legitimate exercises of the Constitutional guarantees of the rights to free expression and assembly. At this time, as Americans begin the hard conversations about the challenges our society faces at home, we take heart from the resilience and courage of Liberians who are working to ensure peace and justice in their own country. As we strive to live up to our core values and work closely with our partners and friends to create a better world for all, Dr. King’s words ring true: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere… .Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
WHILE WE WELCOME the show of solidarity from the United States government and deep concerns, the US can pay no greater tribute to injustice and human rights violations around the world, than by marking an asterisk on 2020 for its Human Rights report. This means, US State Department Annual Report this year.
FRANKLY SPEAKING, the US used to enjoy a lot of respect from countries around the world. These days, with every Black man, woman or person of color who fall prey to police brutality, the respect America once had diminishes.
IN THE SAME way advocates from around the world look forward to those reports as a show of solidarity that the world’s most powerful nation is identifying with the cries of victims around the world, this year, Black Americans and people of color are feeling the same.
IN FACT, AS THE Rev. Al Sharpton said last week at Floyd’s memorial: “For 400 years we have been getting up no matter what they did to us.”
AMERICA’S HARD CONVERSATIONS cannot be had without the US first identifying that it has a problem with race and agreeing to address them head on.
THE PROTESTS around the world are sending a clear message that Blacks and people of color have had enough – and the pressure is working.
TODAY, POLICE IN Minneapolis have been forbidden to use chokeholds and neck restraints under reforms negotiated by city and state authorities. In an emergency vote Friday, the Minneapolis City Council agreement with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, which opened a civil rights investigation this week into the city’s police department in the wake of the killing of George Floyd.
WHILE THIS IS welcoming, cities across America must follow suit and go steps further by banning the use of life firearms on suspects accused of a crime. The most powerful nation in the world should be able to afford stunt guns or fake bullets to minimize the killings of unarmed blacks and people of color.
MAKE NO MISTAKE, the world welcomes and looks forward to the US Annual Human Rights Report, they help spot sores in the eyes of governments clamping down on free speech, human rights, child trafficking and a host of other abuses.
THE US CANNOT afford to allow its policing of the world to be compromised or betrayed by a style of governance just as bad at the dictatorships and corrupt-ridden governments they pick on annually.
GEORGE FLOYD’S DEATH should and must not be in vain. The State Department can begin the conversation by being true to itself and sending a clear message to the world that is beyond ready to clean the sores from its own eyes before trying to clean up the sores from the eyes of others.