Commission of Inquiry Open Hearings on Racist Police Brutality on MLK Day 2021

D. Peter Herbert O.B.E., retired Judge and former Vice Chair of the Metropolitan Police Authority and Chair of the Society of Black Lawyers, announced January 18, 2021:

I welcome the chance to serve as one of the Human Rights Commissioners in this important International Commission of Inquiry on Systemic Racist Police Violence Against People of African Descent in the United States. It is my expectation that this independent international legal inquiry will focus the minds of the international community on the continuing crimes against humanity faced by persons of African descent. It will also give weight to the struggle leading to the cessation of racial discrimination against people of African descent in the United States of America. This Pan African approach is also a wake up call to the wider diaspora communities in Brazil and elsewhere for the need to protect our lives so that they can be of true value.

The National Conference of Black Lawyers (NCBL), the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) and the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) have assembled a commission of experts from around the world to investigate racist police violence against people of African descent in the United States. The International Commission of Inquiry on Systemic Racist Police Violence Against People of African Descent in the United States began to broadcast live hearings online with testimony from victims’ families and lawyers on January 18, 2021, which is the day that the United States commemorate the birthday of civil rights legend Martin Luther King, Jr. The hearings are expected to come to a close on February 6, 2021.

In June 2020 an international coalition of hundreds of organizations and individuals sent a communication to the United Nations Human Rights Council urging that the UN convene a commission of inquiry to investigate racism and racist police violence in the United States. The UN declined the request, though it did task the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights with preparing a report on racism. Our voices must be heard.

Following the UN’s decision not to convene a commission of inquiry, the NCBL, the IADL and the NLG joined forces to establish a Commission of Inquiry. The Commission of Inquiry will investigate the systemic, widespread and grave violations of the rights of Black people in the United States and present its findings in a report. The report will be given to the United Nations High Commissioner and shared with the general public.

For decades people of African descent in the United States have petitioned the domestic courts in vain, including the US Supreme Court, for relief from the systemic lynchings and killings under the color of law,” says Lennox Hinds, Professor Emeritus at Rutgers University and chair of the Commission of Inquiry’s Steering Committee.

Hinds, who practiced criminal law for decades domestically and internationally continues: “This International Commission of Inquiry is our latest attempt to give voice to the international outrage resulting from the public lynching of George Floyd; to again expose the pandemic of racist police violence against people of African descent; and to hold the United States government accountable before the international community.

The 12 Commissioners hail from countries around the globe and include notable figures such as Sir Clare Roberts, former President of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, UN Advisor and Chair of the CARICOM Reparations Commission and pioneering lawyer Hina Jilani, a member of the Nelson Mandela-founded group The Elders.

Judge Peter Herbert (retired), now based in Nairobi, Kenya, Chair of the Society of Black Lawyers who was awarded an O.B.E. in 2010 for his work in promoting international human right commented, “The visible lynching of George Floyd resonated with people of African descent all over the world. After centuries of enduring appalling human rights abuses throughout slavery, reconstruction and in the modern world this international analysis and condemnation is essential. I wish to applaud the Herculean efforts of NCBL, NLG and IADL in organising this very important and timely international inquiry.

Get the hearings’ live broadcast full schedule via Zoom and other information about the Commission of Inquiry by visiting: www.inquirycommission.org. You can also register for the hearings at: https://bit.ly/inquirycommission. For further information please contact: Judge D Peter Herbert O.B.E. phern5law@aol.com or on +254 (0) 741 101 877. Kerry McLean, Esq.:- kerrymclean@gmail.com

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