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UN rights experts call for global ban on racial profiling

[JURIST] The UN Working Group of Experts on People of Africa Descent [official website] Friday called for a global ban on racial profiling [JURIST news archive] at the conclusion of its annual 5-day session [background materials]. The group urged "states to clearly define and adopt explicit legislative provisions banning racial profiling," a practice which European expert Joe Frans described as being "widespread, yet remains little documented and not clearly prohibited under European law." The group found that "systematic and historic targeting" of persons of African descent contributes to the stigmatization and stereotype "of persons of African descent as having a propensity to criminality." The group also noted a greater reliance on racial profiling following the September 11 suicide attacks on the United States. The working group stated [text, PDF] that "the explicit targeting of specific groups by law enforcement officials violates a number of provisions" of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) [text]. The group also described racial profiling as "a new term for an old practice [formerly known as] institutional racism and discrimination."

The Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent was established by the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights [official website] in 2002 following the 2001 World Conference Against Racism to study and address issues concerning the well-being of people of African descent. Civil rights groups in the US have recently been pushing Democratic lawmakers [JURIST report] to reconsider a bill banning racial profiling by any US federal, state or local government entity. Reuters has more.

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