HRC 29th Session: Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Racism

Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, Mr. Mutuma Ruteere
 
Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America
Delivered by Wes Reisser
UN Human Rights Council – 29th Session
Geneva – June 30, 2015

Thank you, Mr. President.

The United States welcomes Special Rapporteur Mutuma Ruteere and thanks him for his thoughtful attention to the issue of racial and ethnic profiling in his most recent report.

As the report notes, this issue is important in our country.  The United States acknowledges, and seeks to address, the continuing challenges we face in the area of discrimination in policing.  As we stated in our second Universal Periodic Review last month, we seek to prevent racial profiling and other forms of discrimination proactively through community relations activities and training.  These initiatives benefit federal, state, and local law enforcement officers across the country.   For example, the Department of Justice has created a Collaborative Reform Initiative for Technical Assistance.  The purpose of the Initiative is to provide a long-term strategy to improve trust between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve.

We also see our work as part of our effort to promote racial and ethnic equality to mark the International Decade for People of African Descent. In doing so, we recognize the common challenges faced by people of African descent in the U.S. and all over the world.  The Decade is an opportunity in the United States to encourage positive domestic discourse on U.S. civil rights, highlight the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Civil Rights Act, and work with international partners to promote nondiscrimination and equality.

In December, the Department of Justice announced an updated policy on profiling applicable to all law enforcement activity under federal supervision.  The policy directs that law enforcement officers may not consider race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, gender identity, religion, or sexual orientation to any degree when making routine or spontaneous law enforcement decisions, unless the characteristics apply to a suspect’s description.  We welcome the attention the Special Rapporteur paid to this policy in his report, and we appreciate his citing it as a model of good practice.

Question:

1.    Mr. Special Rapporteur, besides engaging in public education and advocacy, can you elaborate on the role that civil society and non-governmental organizations can play in combating the use of racial and ethnic profiling by law enforcement agencies?

2.    We are pleased to support the International Decade for People of African Descent.  As part of that effort, are there ways that we can enhance coordination and collaboration among member states to share best practices and promote racial equality and access to justice?

Thank you Mr. President.

print  Print