Ferguson to Geneva: Using the Human Rights Framework to Push Forward a Vision for Racial Justice in the United States after Ferguson
33 Pages Posted: 26 Apr 2015 Last revised: 22 Jul 2015
Date Written: April 24, 2015
As demonstrations under the banner of #BlackLivesMatter continue to erupt around the United States against state-sponsored violence, and as state, local, and federal officials continue to eschew fundamental social change, families and protesters have begun to explore alternative international forums in the search for justice. The Ferguson to Geneva delegation represents a significant event in this internationalist turn. The delegation, consisting of the parents of Mike Brown, Jr. and young Black leaders from Ferguson, chose to air their grievances before the United Nations Committee Against Torture in the fall of 2014. This article reproduces the delegation’s “shadow report,” which laid the groundwork for its testimony, and further describes delegation members' subsequent efforts to leverage the outcome of the United Nations Committee review process to bolster domestic advocacy. It concludes finally that international human rights law and its formal accountability mechanisms should not encompass the totality of what people perceive as the potential and depth of the human rights discourse; instead, these should be considered nothing more than tools that can be strategically employed to support a broader process of organizing and grassroots resistance.
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