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A/HRC/47/53: Promotion and protection of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of Africans and of people of African descent against excessive use of force and other human rights violations by law enforcement officers


09 July 2021

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The murder of George Floyd on 25 May 2020 and the ensuing mass protests worldwide have marked a watershed in the fight against racism. In some countries, there is now broader acknowledgment of the systemic nature of the racism that affects the lives of Africans and people of African descent and of the need to address the past in order to secure future conditions of life that uphold the dignity and rights of all. It is our collective duty to address these issues – immediately and everywhere.

Prepared pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 43/1 and in recognition of the unprecedented opportunity for change, the present comprehensive report – to be read in conjunction with an accompanying conference room paper – presents an agenda towards transformative change for racial justice and equality.

The objectives of this transformative agenda in the annex are to reverse cultures of denial, dismantle systemic racism and accelerate the pace of action; end impunity for human rights violations by law enforcement officials and close trust deficits in this area; ensure that the voices of people of African descent and those who stand up against racism are heard and that their concerns are acted upon; and acknowledge and confront legacies, including through accountability and redress.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights calls upon States to translate this agenda into action plans and concrete measures developed through national dialogues and with the meaningful participation of people of African descent to address the specific histories, lived experiences and current realities in each State. The Office of the High Commissioner looks forward to working with States and the Human Rights Council to implement this agenda, including by: strengthening assistance to States and other stakeholders; documenting and following up on specific incidents; consulting and partnering with victims, survivors and affected communities; and providing guidance for relevant racial justice processes in States, for which additional dedicated capacity is needed.

The High Commissioner also recommends that the Human Rights Council sustain its close engagement on these issues and establish a specific, time-bound mechanism, or that it strengthen an existing mechanism by providing it with additional capacity, in order to advance racial justice and equality in the context of law enforcement in all parts of the world, including by examining relevant patterns, incidents, policies and processes, such as those highlighted in the present report and in the accompanying conference room paper.

Learn more about implementation of HRC resolution 43/1 and the agenda towards transformative change for racial justice and equality


In the preparation of this report, UN Human Rights adhered strictly to the principles of independence, impartiality and objectivity, in accordance with our established methodology.

UN Human Rights sought the views of member States, regional organizations, non-governmental organizations, UN entities, community members and groups, and other key stakeholders in response to a call for submissions. The Office also engaged with relevant Special Procedures mandate holders.

The voices of people of African descent who are victims of human rights violations and their families are central to the work.