The Human Rights Crisis for African/Black People Deepens
Why a People(s)-Centered Human Rights framework matters.
Moves have been made on behalf of the human rights of African/Black people over the past week.
You may recall the Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) issued a statement on May 29, calling on the United Nations to address U.S. human-rights violations against African/Black people. Groups and individuals around the world had requested the United Nations Human Rights Council address the matter.
Then the 54-country African Group of the United Nations, led by Burkina Faso, submitted a resolution to the council calling for an urgent debate and an independent international commission of inquiry to investigate what it characterized as "systemic racism" against people of African descent in the United States and other parts of the world.
Establishing such a commission would have been historic. But the United States responded in its typical heavy-handed manner to bully African states to withdraw support for the request. Even though the United States had withdrawn its membership from the council upon Trump's inauguration, it still lobbied European members of the council to reject the proposal. And its efforts paid off. The proposal did not garner enough council votes to establish an independent commission. But the council did order the Office of the High Commission on Human Rights to launch an investigation and issue a report to the council.
We are left with two lessons. First, in the global ideological struggle, the issue of human rights remains salient. This is especially the case when the critical lens is turned on the United States, which has incorporated a narrow and opportunistic version of "human rights" into its arsenal of imperialist tools to confuse the public. Secondly, while a U.N. inquiry would have been a significant development, the state-centric processes of this and other international bodies in which power politics rule demonstrates the importance of the People(s)-Centered Human Rights (PCHRs) framework.
Developed by BAP National Organizer Ajamu Baraka, PCHRs does not rely on state actions to address human-rights concerns. Instead, it relies on the organized people, in struggle, as not only the genesis of human-rights principles, but as the only guarantors of those rights.
BAP takes the position that if the U.N. is unable to establish a commission of inquiry, the people in the United States should consider taking up that work. But the objective would not be only to produce a report of human-rights abuses because we understand no report will induce U.S. authorities to voluntarily dismantle the structures of systemic racism.
The PCHRs position asserts human rights can only flourish when the people take state power and restructure the society through an ethical framework that centers the needs of the people and the values of cooperation, equality, participatory democracy, social justice, and collective self-determination of communities and peoples.
The PCHRs framework asserts community self-determination as a collective human right along with the human right to community self-defense against all forces—state or non-state.
That is why we say "No Compromise, No Retreat" until we create the conditions to realize People(s)-Centered Human Rights for all.
PRESS AND MEDIA
If you missed our June 16 "Rise Up to Shut Down AFRICOM" event—attended by about 500 people from the Americas and Africa— you can catch the recording on Facebook.
BAP member Bilal Mafundi Ali explained to Prensa Obrera that the recent U.S. uprisings are the U.S. state's "greatest nightmare."BAP National Organizer Ajamu Baraka spoke with Fars News Agency about the uprisings being a "turning point" toward liberation.
Starting at 11:08 minutes into last week's WPFW "Voices with Vision" radio show, Netfa Freeman, who represents Pan-African Community Action (PACA) on the BAP Coordinating Committee, interviewed BAP member Mark Fancher, who discussed the recent qualitative leap made in the Black liberation movement. Netfa also appeared on Press TV to discuss what must be done to prevent the neoliberal state from co-opting the movement against structural violence.
Ajamu joined Black for Palestine founder Kristian Davis Bailey on the Electronic Intifada Podcast to discuss the status of Black-Palestinian solidarity amid the U.S. uprisings. The interview starts at 24:12 minutes.Bailey wrote on how Palestinians can support the Black liberation struggle.
Take your anti-war activism further by asking your local, state and federal candidates to sign BAP's 2020 Candidate Accountability Pledge. If you are a candidate, distinguish yourself from the other corporate warmongering candidates by signing the pledge.