Faith, civil, and human rights groups join to urge official visit by UN independent expert to investigate racism in the United States




For the latest Brethren news go to the main Newsline page

From a National Council of Churches release

Today, March 21, a broad coalition of religious and civil rights leaders will deliver a letter to Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo requesting an official invitation to professor E. Tendayi Achiume, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance, to the United States.

The Church of the Brethren Office of Peacebuilding and Policy has signed the letter and its staff were at the initial planning meeting, reports director Nathan Hosler.

This letter, signed by approximately 100 organizations, requests that Achiume “conduct an official fact-finding visit to examine the historic and present marks of racism and racial discrimination that have presented new and renewed, alarming trends of racism in the United States.” It also points out that “the last Special Rapporteur on Racism visit to the United States was in 2008 at the invitation of the George W. Bush administration. That timely visit enjoyed bipartisan support.”

March 21 is the United Nations’ International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, commemorating the 1960 massacre of 69 persons at a peaceful demonstration in Sharpeville, South Africa, as they protested the apartheid "pass laws." The United Nations notes that “racist extremist movements based on ideologies that seek to promote populist, nationalist agendas are spreading in various parts of the world, fueling racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance, often targeting migrants and refugees as well as people of African descent.”

This timely letter states: “While we appreciate the US’s stated commitment to fighting racism, we believe that commitment ought to manifest itself in tangible actions rather than only words. We are deeply concerned by credible reports indicating a frightening resurgence in white supremacy, which has led to a rise in racism and hate crimes against racial, ethnic, and religious minority communities both in the US and abroad as evidenced by the recent horrific and unspeakable mass murder in New Zealand.”

-- Steven D. Martin is communications staff for the National Council of Churches. For more about the NCC go to http://nationalcouncilofchurches.us .

Go to www.brethren.org/Newsline to subscribe to the Church of the Brethren Newsline free e-mail news service and receive church news every week.