A few weeks ago, the parents of Michael Brown travelled to Geneva, Switzerland to speak to the United Nations Committee Against Torture. As reported on cnn.com, the mother and father of the Missouri teen killed by police officer Darren Wilson said they testified before the U.N. committee because they wanted the world to know “what’s going on in Ferguson.”
The group that organized the overseas trip released a statement requesting that the U.N. panel recommend the immediate arrest of Officer Wilson…
…as well as an end to “racial profiling and racially-biased police harassment across the jurisdictions surrounding Ferguson.”
CNN further reported that the group sponsoring the parents’ trip called for U.N. recommendations and directives that would apply to the entire United States:
…including that the attorney general and Department of Justice “must conduct a nationwide investigation of systematic police brutality and harassment in black and brown communities, and youth in particular.”
So it should come as little surprise that, after the grand jury saw fit not to indict Darren Wilson for the shooting, a top United Nations official would weigh in with highly critical comments on the Ferguson situation and the broader topic of race relations and community policing in America.
According to the U.N.’s Human Rights Chief, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, U.S. authorities need to tackle a “deep and festering” mistrust of law enforcement practices and procedures in some sectors of the population.
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A Reuters article posted on Yahoo! News states:
Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein at the United Nations said he was “deeply concerned at the disproportionate number of young African Americans who die in encounters with police officers, as well as the disproportionate number of African Americans in U.S. prisons and the disproportionate number of African Americans on Death Row.”
In addition to being the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Prince Zeid is Jordan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations. So, one might ask, what about human rights in this U.N. official’s own country? What about the human rights record in Jordan?
A summary posted at wikipedia.org finds 13 separate areas of concern about human rights abuses in Jordan, including:
– cases of arbitrary deprivation of life, torture, poor prison conditions, impunity, arbitrary arrest and denial of due process through administrative detention, and prolonged detention;
– breaches of fair trial standards and external interference in judicial decisions;
– infringements on privacy rights;
– limited freedoms of speech and press, and government interference in the media and threats of fines and detention that encourage self-censorship.
And considering what Amnesty International adds about Jordan’s treatment of its own citizens, one might reasonably wonder how this head of the U.N. Human Rights Commission enjoys the moral standing to criticize what goes on in the United States.
Amnesty International continues to be concerned about torture and ill-treatment in detention in Jordan, as well as the link between torture, unfair trials, and the death penalty.
Amnesty International has particular concerns about the application of the death penalty in Jordan because there is a pattern of death sentences, and sometimes executions, occurring as a result of unfair trials where confessions extracted under torture are used as evidence against the defendants.
Photo Credit: unmultimedia.org