The National Conference of Black Lawyers (NCBL), the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) and the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) have assembled a commission of experts from around the world to investigate racist police violence against people of African descent in the United States.
The International Commission of Inquiry on Systemic Racist Police Violence Against People of African Descent in the United States will broadcast live hearings online with testimony from victims’ families and lawyers beginning January 18, 2021, which is the the day that the United States will commemorate the birthday of civil rights legend Martin Luther King, Jr. The hearings come to a close on February 6, 2021.
In June 2020 an international coalition of hundreds of organizations and individuals sent a communication to the United Nations Human Rights Council urging that the UN convene a commission of inquiry to investigate racism and racist police violence in the United States. The UN declined the request, though it did task the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights with preparing a report on racism.
Following the UN’s decision to not convene a commission of inquiry, the NCBL, the IADL and the NLG joined forces to establish a Commission of Inquiry. The Commission of Inquiry will investigate the systemic, widespread and grave violations of the rights of Black people in the United States and present its findings in a report. The report will be given to the United Nations High Commissioner and shared with the public.
“For decades people of African descent in the United States have sought in vain to seek relief from the systemic lynchings and killings under the color of law by petitioning domestic courts, including the United States Supreme Court,” said Lennox Hinds, Professor Emeritus at Rutgers University and chair of the Commission of Inquiry’s Steering Committee. Hinds, who practiced criminal law for decades domestically and internationally, continued, “This International Commission of Inquiry is our latest attempt to give voice to the international outrage resulting from the public lynching of George Floyd, to once again expose the pandemic of racist police violence against people of African descent and to hold the United States government accountable before the international community.”
The 12 Commissioners hail from countries around the globe and include notable figures such as Sir Clare Roberts, former President of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, UN Advisor and Chair of the CARICOM Reparations Commission and pioneering lawyer Hina Jilani, who is a member of the Nelson Mandela-founded group The Elders.
The hearings will be broadcast live via Zoom. For a full schedule of the hearings and other information about the Commission of Inquiry please