Families of Black Americans killed in the hands of police officers have wrote a letter to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), calling for an independent probe into police violence against the country’s Black citizens.
Collette Flanagan, whose 25-year-old son, Clinton Allen, was fatally shot by Dallas police in 2013, said she hopes the HRC will finally listen to the families.
“It is so important for the U.N. to establish a commission of inquiry,” Flanagan said. “If the U.N., with their resources and their reach, would establish a commission of inquiry, it would change the landscape on how people understand the atrocities that are happening in the United States, in reference to police killing.”
Signed by 165 families of the victims of police violence and more than 250 civil society organizations, was delivered to the office of U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Monday. A copy was also sent to the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of African States.
The American Civil Liberties Union as well as Mothers Against Police Brutality, the organization Flanagan founded in the wake of her son’s death, have also endorsed the letters.
A similar request was sent to the HRC last year but the UN organization only launched an inquiry into global systemic police violence.
Jamil Dakwar, the director of the ACLU’s Human Rights Program, told Newsweek the ACLU was part of the previous attempt but the request was ultimately “watered down.”
“There was pushback and very aggressive lobbying by the Trump administration against it last year, and also other U.S. allies from different parts of the world,” Dakwar said.
The HRC acknowledged the requests upon announcing its resolution to launch an inquiry last summer but said it has been asked to conduct broader research into the matter.
Dakwar said he is hopeful President Joe Biden‘s administration will be more receptive than his predecessor, Donald Trump, if the HRC was to launch an inquiry.
This, he said, would give the U.S. “an opportunity to show seriousness in the Biden administration to lead by the power of example and to subject the nation’s record to international scrutiny.”