S. E. Williams | Executive Editor
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 hearings will be broadcast live beginning Monday, Jan. 18, the day America will commemorate the birthday of legendary Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and come to closure Saturday, Feb. 6.
Recognizing the killings and maimings of unarmed Black people by police authorities in the United States escalate unabated and that effective domestic remedies are either non-existent or exacerbated by the policies of the federal government, a decision was made to convene this International Commission of Inquiry.
In June 2020, an international coalition of hundreds of organizations and individuals sent a communication to the United Nations Human Rights Council urging them to convene a commission of inquiry to investigate racism and racist police violence in the United States. Although the UN declined the request, it tasked the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights with preparing a report on racism.
Following the UN’s decision not to convene a commission of inquiry, the NCBL, the IADL and the NLG joined forces to establish a Commission of Inquiry (Commission).
The Commission 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 participating in the process are from countries all over the world and includes a slate of notable international luminaries including 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 visit www.inquirycommission.org. To register for the hearings visit https://bit.ly/inquirycommission.
S. E. Williams is executive editor of the IE Voice and Black Voice News.