“Black lives matter” and “refugee lives matter”

“Black lives matter” and “refugee lives matter”

Posted on the 18/06/20

Humanist Union of Greece

18 June 2020

The Humanist Union of Greece (HUG), a member of the European Humanist Federation, supports the joint appeal to the UN Human Rights Council to establish an international commission of inquiry with the necessary authority to investigate systemic racism in law enforcement in the United States made yesterday by the Special Rapporteur on racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance; the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance; the Working Group of Experts on people of African descent; the Special Rapporteur on the rights of freedom of assembly and association; and the Coordination Committee of the Special Procedures of the Human Rights CouncilHUG agrees with them that “Failure to establish an international commission of inquiry would signal that black lives do not matter, or that if they do, they do not matter enough to mobilize the Human Rights Council to intervene where it should.” 

also noted with satisfaction that during yesterday’s debate at the UN HRC “Speakers expressed deep concern over structural and systemic racism in all societies affecting minority groups the world over, emphasizing that States had the responsibility to prevent racist-driven crimes and ensure justice and accountability.  It was time to unite in a firm, global and collective response.” On this side of the Atlantic, there is also systemic police or border guard excessive violence, contempt for human life, all that enhanced by frequent impunity for such major human rights violations. The standards of the rule of law are under threat even in several European states. Europe’s attitude towards refugees at the external borders of the EU, that includes torture and shooting deaths, as well as systemic racism, often coupled with impunity, in law enforcement agencies of many European states, are not positive examples of the humanistic values of Europe that are otherwise so readily upheld.

More than 100 Members of European Parliament, both in mid-March 20202 and in mid-May 2020, called on the European Commission to immediately investigate the shootings at the Greek-Turkish border that have resulted in at least two well-documented deaths and one missing person, adding that they cannot tolerate that these findings are simply ignored by the responsible authorities. To this day, the call fell on deaf ears.

“Refugee lives matter” as much as “black lives matter” and all those who support the international commission of inquiry to investigate systemic racism in law enforcement in the United States should also support an immediate investigation by the European Commission of systemic racism in law enforcement at the external borders of the EU by agents operating in the name of the whole EU.

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