By Alexis Rios-Jimenez
WASHINGTON, DC – The ACLU published an online article agreeing with a report released by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination regarding the racial justice record of the United States.
The UN committee drew various conclusions on the shortcomings of U.S. efforts to address the issue of systemic racism at its borders. The committee asserted the U.S. should focus on enacting policies that would be effective in addressing racial justice issues across federal, state, local, and tribal levels.
Despite the Committee’s assessment of the many areas in which the U.S. could improve, it commended the Biden administration for taking meaningful action in its policies to address racial inequalities.
And in its report the committee, for the first time ever, recommended U.S. form a commission to draw up reparation proposals for slavery.
In detailing its concern, as highlighted by the ACLU, the committee argued “the lingering legacies of colonialism and slavery continue to fuel racism and racial discrimination … undermining the full enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all individuals and communities.”
The ACLU article noted the committee urged the U.S. take an active role in developing strategic policy approaches to address systemic racism and racial injustices that would allow for the promise of many social and economic rights to be fulfilled to many living in the U.S. who have been historically disenfranchised in exercising their rights.
Director of the ACLU’s Human Rights Program, Jamil Dakwar, strongly agreed with the conclusions made by the committee and stressed that “the Biden administration must act to build out our domestic human rights infrastructure.”
Legal director of the ACLU of North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming, Stephanie Amiotte, also shared her reaction to the release of the committee’s conclusions, agreeing “the generations of harm to Indigenous Peoples from the history of colonialism, which continues to seriously impact housing, health care, education, food, child welfare, maternal mortality, voting rights, and missing and murdered Indigenous women and persons.”
Amiotte maintained the need for the U.S. to “guarantee in law and in practice, the principle of free, prior, and informed consent of Tribes when decisions are made affecting Indigenous persons. This includes decisions regarding education of Indigenous students who face disparate rates of discipline, school arrests, and lack of equal access to quality education that meets their unique cultural needs.”