The United Nations human rights chief has voiced concern over “institutionalized discrimination” and the “disproportionate” number of young African Americans being killed by police in the United States.
“I am deeply concerned at the disproportionate number of young African Americans who die in encounters with police officers, as well as the disproportionate number of African Americans in US prisons and the disproportionate number of African Americans on death row,” said Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, in a statement on Tuesday.
His comments came a day after a grand jury in Missouri failed to indict a white police officer for the fatal shooting of unarmed African American teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson.
The 12-member jury, including nine whites and three African Americans, had been meeting in secret for months on whether probable cause existed to bring charges against Darren Wilson.
The decision has sparked a fresh firestorm of protests across the United States.
The UN rights chief warned that there is a deep lack of confidence in the fairness of the justice system in the United States, and urged the authorities to thoroughly examine how “race-related issues are affecting law enforcement and the administration of justice, both at the federal and state levels.”
To many protesters, Brown’s death is symbolic of broader racial injustice in America.
In 2012, African American man Trayvon Martin was gunned down by a white Florida neighborhood watch, who was later acquitted of murder.