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Charleston shooting: UN experts deplore killings of African Americans and urge measures against racist crimes

GENEVA (19 June 2015) – Statement by the United Nations Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent. This statement is attributable to Ms. Mireille Fanon Mendes-France, current Chairperson of the expert group.

“We utterly condemn the appalling attack on the Emanuel African Methodist Church in Charleston, South Carolina this week and the killing of nine African Americans.

We welcome the prompt action by the authorities to investigate this hate crime. Every effort must be made to ensure the person guilty of this act is prosecuted and punished accordingly.

Urgent measures must be taken to prevent gun violence and racist crimes motivated by prejudice that affect the security of Afro-Americans, their communities and society as a whole.

We offer our heartfelt condolences to the people of the United States of America, especially the families and friends of those who were murdered while in worship at Church.”

The Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent was established on 25 April 2002 by the then Commission on Human Rights, following the World Conference against Racism held in Durban in 2001. The Working Group is composed of five independent experts serving in their personal capacities: Ms. Mireille FANON MENDES-FRANCE (France), current Chair-Rapporteur; Ms. Verene SHEPHERD (Jamaica); Mr. Sabelo Gumedze (South Africa); Mr. Ricardo A. SUNGA III (the Philippines) and Mr. Michal BALCERZAK (Poland). Learn more, visit:  http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Racism/WGAfricanDescent/Pages/WGEPADIndex.aspx

The Working Groups are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights, country page – USA: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/LACRegion/Pages/USIndex.aspx

For more information and media requests, please contact Niraj Dawadi (+41 22 928 9151 / ndawadi@ohchr.org) or write to africandescent@ohchr.org 

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org

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Check the Universal Human Rights Index: http://uhri.ohchr.org/en