People of African descent die at the hands of law enforcement in disproportionately large numbers in many countries, especially in the United States, a United Nations (UN) human rights official said on Tuesday.
Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said in her annual report to the ongoing 49th session of the Human Rights Council that in the United States, civil society groups have advanced a figure of 266 killings of people of African descent by the police in 2021.
This indicates that they are "almost three times more likely to be killed by police than white people", Bachelet said, adding that "other research suggests the figure could be even higher."
"I urge national authorities -- in all regions of the world -- to ensure prompt and effective accountability for deaths at the hands of law enforcement," she said.
The UN Human Rights Council has in recent years received reports indicating that racial disparities persisted throughout the U.S. criminal justice system.
For instance, George Floyd, an African American, died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes in May 2020, which soon triggered protests against racism and police brutality across the U.S. and even the world.
"Black lives do not matter in the United States of America," said George Floyd's brother, Philonise Floyd, addressing an urgent debate held by the UN Human Rights Council shortly after George Floyd's death.