police brutality

RE-JUST Towards a victim-centered criminal justice system: talking about trauma

The final conference of the RE-JUST project is a forum for discussion criminal justice systems and improving victims’ access to justice. Join our online event on 17th September to be inspired by knowledge and ideas from experienced professionals in the fields of law, criminology, and psychology.

We will first discuss structural issues for developing more victim-centered criminal justice systems, such as legislation, multidisciplinary cooperation, and how to provide victims with information on their rights. Then, we move on to understand how trauma can manifest in the criminal justice system and how criminal justice actors can in practice provide justice in a trauma-informed manner.

The event will be participated by a variety of speakers: Prosecutor General of Finland, Raija Toiviainen, President of Association Pro Refugiu, Silvia Antoaneta Berbec, Adjunct professor, and co-leader of a research group in legal psychology at Åbo Akademi University, Dr. Julia Korkman, Professor of procedural law at University of Turku, Johanna Niemi, and many more. View the full program here.

Register here

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the Alliance of NGOs on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice , please visit crimealliance.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Social Development, please visit ngosocdev.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Human Rights, please email the co-chairs at bobbinassar@gmail.com or bknotts@uua.org. 

International Day for People of African Descent

The International Day for People of African Descent will be celebrated for the first time on 31 August 2021. Through this Observance the United Nations aims to promote the extraordinary contributions of the African diaspora around the world and to eliminate all forms of discrimination against people of African descent.

International days reflect the values that society shares. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and have the potential to contribute constructively to the development and well-being of their societies. Any doctrine of racial superiority is scientifically false, morally condemnable, socially unjust, and dangerous and must be rejected, together with theories that attempt to determine the existence of separate human races.

The United Nations strongly condemns the continuing violent practices and excessive use of force by law enforcement agencies against Africans and people of African descent and condemns structural racism in criminal justice systems around the world. The Organization further acknowledges the Transatlantic Slave Trade as one of the darkest chapters in our human history and upholds human dignity and equality for the victims of slavery, the slave trade and colonialism, in particular people of African descent in the African diaspora.

Learn more about how and why the UN commemorates this observance at un.org/en/observances/african-descent-day.

For further information on the International Decade for “People of African Descent: recognition, justice and development” (2015-2024), please visit un.org/en/observances/decade-people-african-descent.

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, please visit facebook.com/NGOCoRIP. For more information on the NGO Committee on Social Development, please visit ngosocdev.org

Briefing to Civil Society on UNODC Strategy

UNODC has recently launched its new five-year strategy, covering 2021-25. Recognizing that a key to successful implementation of this Strategy will be the expanded use of partnerships with a broad range of stakeholders, the online meeting on February 25th will provide a briefing to Civil Society partners. The briefing will include a presentation of the Strategy by Jean-Luc Lemahieu, Director of the Division for Policy Analysis and Public Affairs (DPA), UNODC and Bo Mathiassen, Deputy Director of the Division for Policy Analysis and Public Affairs (DPA), UNODC. The presentation will be followed by a Question & Answer session for the civil society participants.

Register here!

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the Alliance of NGOs on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, please visit crimealliance.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace, and Security, please visit ngocdps.wordpress.com. For more information on the NGO Committee on Financing for Development, please visit ngosonffd.org

Urgent Debate: UN Human Rights Council — “Race-based human rights violations, systemic racism, police violence against persons of African descent, and violence against peaceful protests”

THE DEBATE CAN BE VIEWED AT UNTV: webtv.un.org

The UN Human Rights Council will be holding an urgent debate on “race-based human rights violations, systemic racism, police violence against persons of African descent, and violence against peaceful protests.” This unprecedented meeting will take place on Wednesday, June 17 at 3:00pm Geneva time (9:00am New York time).

Last Friday, the African Group (which represents the 54 African countries in the United Nations) submitted a request for an Urgent Debate during this week’s Council session which resumed after it was suspended in March due to COVID-19. While the request for an “Urgent Debate” (which is technically equivalent to a special session) is not specific to the U.S., it is very clear that racism and impunity for police killings of people of African descent in the United States including recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery were the impetus for the request.

George Floyd’s tragic murder has sparked what appears to be an unstoppable global movement demanding concrete and bold actions to end racist policing practices and impunity for police violence.

While there is a  recognition that the global nature of racism and police violence, there is now an invitation to encourage governments, especially members of the UN Human Rights Council, to ensure that the Urgent Debate and its outcome, are focused on efforts to hold the United States accountable. The recommendation is the creation of an independent international accountability mechanism to document and investigate extrajudicial killings of unarmed Black men and women, and police violence against protesters and journalists.

We are encouraged to contact foreign embassies in Washington D.C. that are members of the UNHRC (see list here) especially U.S. allies and urge them to support international accountability for police killings in the U.S. This is a call made by families of victims of police killings in the United States and over 660 groups from 66 countries to mandate an independent Commission of Inquiry.