The International Panel of Jurists has announced a date to oversee an international tribunal on human rights abuses against black, brown and indigenous people in the United State of America.
A newly constituted panel of jurists from the fields of law and human rights has been assembled for this purpose, the non-governmental body said.
The panel is composed of nine members and will reconvene “from 22-25 October 2021 in New York City and virtually,” a statement by the Special Advisor to the Panel of Jurists, Matt Meyer, said.
These jurists will preside over two days of testimonies from impacted victims, expert witnesses, and attorneys with firsthand knowledge of specific incidents raised in the charges/indictment, Mr Meyer said.
The tribunal will be evaluating charges of human and civil rights violations on the basis of five areas: police killings of black, brown, and indigenous people; hyper/mass incarcerations of black, brown, and indigenous people; political incarceration of civil rights/national liberation era revolutionaries and revolutionaries and activists, as well as present-day activists.
Other areas are environmental racism and its impact on black, brown, and indigenous people; and public health racism and its traumatic impacts.
As experts in the inter-related fields of institutional and structural racism, minorities rights, indigenous treaties and international law, Mr Meyer said, the panel of jurists asserts itself as an independent body that will convene to hear testimony based on a broad indictment served to the accused U.S. federal and state parties.
“The International Tribunal itself derives from an historic legacy and trajectory, initiated by a US-based coalition, In the Spirit of Mandela. Created in 2018, the coalition recognizes and affirms the rich history of diverse activists including Nelson Mandela, Winnie Mandela, Graca Machel Mandela, Ella Baker, Dennis Banks, Cesar Chavez, Fannie Lou Hamer, Fred Korematsu, Lolita Lebron, Rosa Parks, Ingrid Washinawatok, and many more in the resistance traditions of Black, Brown and Indigenous Peoples.
“Though fully independent and separate from the In the Spirit of Mandela coalition, the Panel of Jurists recognizes the important experiences which have shaped the petitioners’ charges against US government agencies,” part of the statement read.
It added that the tribunal will be held at UN headquarters and the Church Center for the UN, but hearings and community testimony will also take place at the site of Malcolm X’s assassination, the now-refurbished and Columbia University-affiliated Malcolm and Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center in Harlem.
The panel of jurists are majority women and global south rooted, from India, Eritrea, Haiti, France, Puerto Rico, the USA and elsewhere.
They include a South African former Member of Parliament; a Board Member of the distinguished Nobel Peace Laureate organisation with an unprecedented dozen Nobel Peace officer awardees and Puerto Rican legal scholar who serves as an expert for the UN Committee on Decolonization.
Others are UN representative of the oldest inter-faith pacifist organisation in the world, an internationally accredited expert on genocide; the director of the only peoples-centred U.S. human rights network with ECOSOC status and consistent UN advocacy.
The youngest elected Chairman of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe and leader of UNITY/the United National Indian Tribal Youth is part of the group.
Likewise, the former Chair of the United Nations Working Group on People of African Descent and a judge of the Permanent People’s Tribunal.
The Panel of Jurists will announce its verdict following deliberations and discussions, planned for delivery at the United Nations on Monday, October 25.
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