UNITED NATIONS : A group of United Nations experts Wednesday called on the US government to finalize the ongoing review of the case involving the death of Trayvon Martin, an African –American teenager who was shot in 2012 by a neighbourhood watchman in the state of Florida.
“We call upon the US Government to examine its laws that could have discriminatory impact on African Americans, and to ensure that such laws are in full compliance with the country’s international legal obligations and relevant standards,” said human rights expert Verene Shepherd, who currently heads the UN Working Group of Experts of People of African Descent. The death of Trayvon Martin sparked a new debate about racial profiling in the United States after the unarmed black 17-year-old was shot and killed in Florida by George Zimmerman, a neighbourhood watchman.
Zimmerman, a 29-year Hispanic man, who argued that he acted in self-defence and with justifiable use of deadly force, was found not guilty of all charges against him. Nationwide protests, marches and petitions erupted in the days following Zimmerman’s acquittal amid accusations of racial profiling.
The US Department of Justice, the US Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are currently valuating the evidence generated during the federal investigation, as well as the evidence and testimony from the state trial, trying to establish potential civil rights charges linked to the case.
“The Trayvon Martin case has highlighted the importance of the need to review those existing laws and policies that can have a discriminatory effect on the basis of race, as African Americans become more vulnerable to such discrimination,” Ms. Shepherd said, recalling that the US has been party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights since 1992, the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination since 1994, and many other international human rights law treaties.