by Haider Rizvi
Last Friday, after considering the U.S. government’s written and oral testimony, the 18-member committee said it has found “stark racial disparities” in the U.S. institutions, including its criminal justice system.
The CERD panel also objected to the indefinite detention of non-citizens at Guantanamo prison and urged the U.S. to guarantee “enemy combatants” judicial review.
“[It has] exposed to the world the extent to which racial discrimination has been normalised and effectively made permissible in many areas of American life,” said Ajamu Baraka of the Human Rights Network, an umbrella group representing more than 250 rights advocacy organisations.
As part of its recommendations, the Committee has asked the U.S. government to consider the establishment of an independent human rights body that could help eliminate widespread racial disparities.
Bill Larsen of the Western Shoshone Defence Project delegation also testified before the Committee, making a strong case concerning environmental racism and the deadly pollution caused by mining on their ancestral lands.
Indigenous leaders said they welcomed the Committee’s decision to ask the U.S. to submit its report on compliance within one.year.
“Now it is not just us,” he continued, “but the international community that has recognised that indigenous peoples within the United States are subject to racism on many levels and has called for effective steps by the U.S. to remedy this situation.”