In light of a number of unarmed black men being killed by police, human rights watchers are asking are these deaths the U.S. human rights records. Nardos Mesmer reports.
A group of human rights activists held a forum today, at the Public Policy Institute at the Roosevelt House at Hunter College. The featured speaker at the event was Gwen Carr. The agenda for the day were broad human rights topics like reproductive rights, immigration reform and homelessness.
The featured speaker focused on the biggest topic of the day, police brutality. Gwen Car, the mother of Eric Garner, the Staten Island man who died at the hands of Staten Island police. She says the video of his death haunts her.
CARR: We all seen the video. It plays in my head, over and over again. I guess I’ll be looking at it for the rest of my life.
NARDOS: Carr she was aware of police brutality but it really hit home when her son was killed.
CARR: With the death of my son it has really enhanced my awareness of the cruel and inhuman things that some police officers do towards us as people of color and Latinos. We suffer the greatest impact of this injustice. At the hands of the police they violate our civil rights, our human rights and our equal rights and there is no accountability for their misconduct.
NARDOS: But conference organizers say the constitution protects all civil rights it just isn’t applied equally. Janis McDonald teaches law at Syracuse University; she attended the conference today because she has been interested how police brutality is a human rights issue.
JANIS MCDONALD: This has been happening since after post slavery was ended where the Klu Klux Klan used law enforcement as a way to put a badge on their violence.
NARDOS: The conference organizer, Cynthia Soohoo, says all countries that signed on to the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in 1948 need to apply it evenly.
CYNTHIA SOOHOO: Human right standards apply to all counties. We think about human rights in the United States often about being about other countries but it really is recognition that all people no matter where they live have basic fundamental rights
NARDOS: Such as freedom from slavery, freedom from torture, and life, liberty and security of person.
CYNTHIA SOOHOO: The reason why we need human right in the United Sates of in other countries is because for some reason our government isn’t enabling people having enjoyment of their human rights.
NARDOS: Many of the organizers of today’s conference are looking ahead to meet in May at the larger human rights council in Geneva.
Nardos Mesmer, Columbia Radio News.