Sunday, 11 October 2020

President of the African Bar, Hannibal Uwaifo, Appointed Member of An International Commission To Investigate Cases of Police Violence, Extrajudicial Killings & Racism In the USA


     

    The President of the African Bar Association (AfBA), Mr. Hannibal Uwaifo, has been

   appointed a member of an International Commission of Inquiry to Investigate police violence, extrajudicial killings and maiming of people of African descent and entrenched structural racism in police practices throughout the U.S, as well as racism and bias in the criminal justice system that results in the impunity of law enforcement officers for the violations of U.S. law and international human rights standards. The appointment is contained in a letter of appointment dated October 05, 2020, and jointly signed by the Jeanne Mirer, President, Internationa Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL),  Nana Gyamfi, President, National Conference of Black Lawyers (NCBL), and Pooja Gehi, Executive Director, National Lawyers Guild (NLG).

 

 

It would be recalled that, the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Michael Brown and Philando Castile, together with over 600 rights groups, had on June 8, 2020 petitioned the United Nations Human Rights Council, praying it to convene a special session to appoint a Commission of Inquiry for purposes of investigating escalating cases of police violence and systemic racism in policing resulting in violations of international human rights laws against people of African descent in the United States. The petition was supported by the 17-member Africa Group. The Human Rights Council had nevertheless declined to establish a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the United States.


 

However, recognizing that the killings and maiming of unarmed Black people by the police and vigilante groups in the United States continued to escalate unabated and that effective domestic remedies were either non-existent or exacerbated by the policies of the federal government of the United States, these three groups (the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL), the National Conference of Black Lawyers (NCBL), and the National Lawyers Guild (NLG)), had now  decided to convene an International Commission of Inquiry composed of Distinguished Expert Members from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean1 to conduct an independent inquiry into police violence, extrajudicial killings and racism against Africans Americans in the USA.

 

The letter reads (in full) as follows:

 

  •  International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL), Chaussée de Haecht 55, 1210, Bruxelles-Brussels, Belgique-Belgium;
  • National Conference of Black Lawyers (NCBL) 2472 Broadway #204 New York, NY 10025, USA; and
  • National Lawyers Guild (NLG), PO Box 1266, New York, NY 10009

October 5, 2020

Mr. Hannibal Uwaifo
President, African Bar Association 19 Adeola Hopewell Street
CIBN Building, 5th Floor
Victoria Island, Lagos
Nigeria


Dear Mr. Uwaifo:


On June 8, 2020, the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Michael Brown and
Philando Castile, together with over 600 rights groups, petitioned the United Nations Human Rights Council to convene a special session to appoint a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the escalating situation of police violence and systemic racism in policing resulting in violations of
 international human rights laws against people of African descent in the United States.

 

Although the petition was supported by the 17-member Africa Group, the Human Rights
Council succumbed to enormous diplomatic pressure from the United States and other allied countries and declined to establish a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the United States.

 

Recognizing that the killings and maiming of unarmed Black people by the police and
vigilante groups in the United States continue to escalate unabated and any effective domestic remedies are either non-existent or exacerbated by the policies of the federal government of the
 United States, the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL), the National Conference of Black Lawyers (NCBL), and the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) decided to convene an International Commission of Inquiry composed of Distinguished Expert Members from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean1 to conduct an independent inquiry into:

1.     Cases of victims of police violence, extrajudicial killings and maiming of people of African descent and entrenched structural racism in police practices throughout the U.S.;

2.     The structural racism and bias in the criminal justice system that results in the impunity of law enforcement officers for the violations of U.S. law and international human rights standards.

The Commission will conduct fact-finding public hearings in various cities across the United States. Because of travel restrictions resulting from COVID-19, the consultations, meetings, and hearings will be conducted virtually.



Although the UN Human Rights Council declined to convene a specific inquiry focusing on the United States, the Human Rights Council in resolution A/HRC/RES/43/1 mandated the Office of the High Commissioner to prepare a report on systemic racism, and violations of international human rights law against Africans and people of African descent by law enforcement agencies globally. We therefore intend to submit our report and findings of this Commission of Inquiry to the High Commissioner to assist her with her mandate.


We envision that the virtual public hearings will be conducted over a 4-week period with a target date of mid-January to mid-February 2021 and an overall time commitment from each Commissioner of seven (7) days. Because of your international reputation and distinguished career as a defender of human rights and the rule of law, we would be honored if you would agree to serve on this Commission of Inquiry.


The following are the persons we are inviting to participate in the Commission in addition

to yourself:

1.     Judge Reine Alapini-Gansou, Benin;

2.     Ms. Niloufer Bhagwat, India;

3.      Mr. Xolani Maxwell Boqwana, South Africa;

4.     His Excellency David Comissiong, Barbados;

5.     Professor Victor Dankwa, Ghana;

6.     Dr. Arturo Fournier Facio, Costa Rica;

7.      Lord Anthony Gifford QC, United Kingdom and Jamaica;

8.     Judge Juan Guzmán Tapia, Chile;

9.     Ms. Sara Hossain, Bangladesh;

10. Ms. Hina Jilani, Pakistan;

11. Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, United Kingdom;

12. Professor Rashida Manjoo, South Africa;

13.  Judge Howard Morrison QC, United Kingdom;

14. Professor Osamu Niikura, Japan;

15. Mrs. Mary Robinson, Ireland;

16.  Justice Albert Louis Sachs, South Africa;

17.  Professor Verene Shepherd, Jamaica;

 

A response to this invitation by October 15, 2020 will be appreciated. Responses may be provided via e-mail to [email protected], attention Steering Committee.


Very truly yours,

(1) Jeanne Mirer (President, IADL)

(2)   Nana Gyamfi (President, NCBL); and

(3) Pooja Gehi (Executive Director, NLG)


Post a comment

Whatsapp Button works on Mobile Device only

Start typing and press Enter to search