As U.S. officials defended the country’s record on human rights before the U.N. panel, a group of youth activists from Chicago rose to their feet with their hands in the air to stage a silent protest. They wore T-shirts bearing the name of Dominique Franklin, a 23-year-old who died in June after police tasered him during an arrest for stealing a bottle of vodka. A member of the group We Charge Genocide, Malcolm London, said the response by U.S. officials at the hearing has been inadequate.
Malcolm London: “Every day in the States, in the city of Chicago, We Charge Genocide has a report that is online for anyone who wants to view it, that documents every single day that police violate rights, abuse, sexually assault, murder and kill, particularly people who look like me, who are black and who are brown, and that is devastating. And what the state brought today does not at all cover, end or answer those questions and is inadequate. And while we’re dying in the streets, and the State Department is patting themselves on the back because they let us stand in a room? We’re not fighting for the right to stand in this room. We’re fighting for the right to be alive.”
The U.N.’s scrutiny of the United States came as part of a periodic review of U.S. compliance with the U.N. Convention Against Torture. Other questions posed by the panel focused on solitary confinement and sexual assault of prisoners in the United States, as well as the U.S. failure to close the prison at Guantánamo Bay and its delay in releasing videos of hunger-striking prisoners being force-fed there.