For over five years, Assa Traoré, the sister of Adama Traoré, a black French man who was killed at the hands of the police, has faced judicial harassment for campaigning for a transparent investigation to establish the responsibility of the gendarmes, a name given to the paramilitary police officers in France, for the death of her brother and for them to be brought to justice. ISHR joined with the Adama Committee to call on the French Government to urgently put an end to the judicial harassment of Assa Troaré. This harassment diverts the public attention from the justice that is expected for Adama’s death and appears intended to dissuade Assa from continuing her struggle.
Genuinely combating racial discrimination is essential for a more just and peaceful society. This notably requires an end to impunity, especially when the perpetrators of racial discrimination and violence are representatives of the State. This is what ISHR and its French national partner, the Collectif Urgence Notre Police Assassine (UNPA), reminded France in a video statement presented at the 46th session of the Human Rights Council.
On Monday 28 September, at the 45th session of the UN Human Rights Council, the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) report of Guinea, which took place on 21 January 2020, was adopted. In a statement delivered during the session, ISHR and its partner, the Collectif des ONGs pour des textes respectueux des droits humains, welcomed the acceptance by Guinea of several recommendations aimed at creating a safe working environment for defenders and combating attacks and threats they face to guarantee freedom of expression, association and assembly.
During the interactive dialogue with the Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights on the SG’s Reprisals Report, some States took the welcome step of raising specific cases of reprisals. Many more continued to condemn reprisals only rhetorically. Regrettably, many States used the dialogue to deny the allegations against them contained in the SG’s report.
The UN Working Group on People of African Descent shed light on impunity for police violence against people of African descent. Comité Adama and ISHR demanded an end to racially motivated police violence in France, which is a candidate for election to the UN Human Rights Council for 2021.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights gave her first oral update on systemic racism and police violence against Africans and people of African descent. ISHR delivered and supported statements demanding inclusive outreach to communities of colour and the creation of meaningful, safe, and accessible opportunities for consultation.
ISHR had the chance to meet with Cédric Herrou for the Geneva premiere of movie 'Libre' where director Michel Toesca follows him in his endeavours in France's Roya Valley. During our interview, Herrou, a migrant rights defender and president of association 'Défends Ta Citoyenneté', shared his testimony, challenges, aspirations and calls to action with ISHR.
A gold mining project envisaged on the territory of indigenous peoples in French Guiana is sparking substantial criticism. In a rare move, a UN committee is now requesting France to secure the consent of affected indigenous communities or suspend the project.
Despite a Constitutional Court ruling that solidarity is a fundamental value in the French Constitution, a ruling from a local court last week shows that some authorities continue to view the work of migrant rights defenders as a crime.