GENEVA: UN human rights consultants have known as for main reforms of the US felony justice system to fight systemic racism, citing testimonies that jailed Black girls had been shackled throughout childbirth whereas male inmates had been compelled to work in “plantation-style” circumstances.
In a report revealed on Thursday, three UN-appointed consultants mentioned that they had discovered practices in US prisons that amounted to “an affront to human dignity” in visits in April and Might.
The US diplomatic mission in Geneva declined to remark. The Federal Bureau of Prisons mentioned it was dedicated to making sure the protection and safety of incarcerated people in addition to workers and the general public.
One such observe is restraining and shackling girls prisoners throughout childbirth, the report mentioned.
The consultants “heard, first hand, insufferable direct testimonies of pregnant girls shackled throughout labour, who as a result of chaining, misplaced their infants”, it mentioned. Requested to present particulars, a UN rights spokesperson referred to “a number of” circumstances and confirmed all of them concerned Black girls.
The consultants additionally collected direct testimonies of circumstances at a Louisiana jail the place it mentioned 1000’s of principally Black male prisoners had been “compelled to labour within the fields (even selecting cotton) underneath the watch of white ‘freemen’ on horseback, in circumstances similar to these of 150 years in the past”.
It described the tales from the so-called ‘Angola’ facility as “surprising” and mentioned they amounted to “up to date types of slavery”. It additionally voiced alarm on the widespread use of solitary confinement, which it mentioned gave the impression to be utilized disproportionately to inmates of African descent.
One Black man advised the consultants he had been stored in isolation for 11 years with out interruption, the report mentioned.
“Our findings level to the crucial want for complete reform,” mentioned one of many consultants, Juan Mendez.
US jail circumstances have been a priority for many years and rights teams have lengthy known as for services with the worst data to be reformed or shut down.
The investigation was arrange by the UN Human Rights Council, of which america is a voting member, in 2021 after the killing of George Floyd, a Black man who died after his neck was pinned to the bottom by a police officer.
The report was primarily based on testimonies from 133 people in 5 US cities in addition to these collected from 5 detention centres. It contained an inventory of 30 suggestions for US authorities, together with a name for a brand new fee on reparations for individuals of African descent.