29 Nov, 2020
JERUSALEM WEATHER

After more than 59 consecutive days of riots, the people of Portland were almost denied their only salvation. The mayor not only tried to block federal troops from helping local law-enforcement authorities but he also tried to ban the police from using tear gas and other crowd-control measures. A federal judge blocked the state’s attempts. 

Police reported being attacked by rioters throwing Molotov cocktails and high-grade fireworks. Local businesses have been targeted by arson and graffiti.

But now the United Nations has gotten involved. On Friday, Liz Throssell, the UN human rights spokeswoman gave a news briefing on the subject.

“Peaceful demonstrations that have been taking place in cities in the US, such as Portland, really must be able to continue without those participating in them – and also, the people reporting on them, the journalists – risking arbitrary arrest or detention, being subject to unnecessary, disproportionate or discriminatory use of force, or suffering other violations of their rights”,  Throssell said.

She emphasized that protesters should have the ability to call for investigations into claims of violence perpetrated by police.

“The authorities should ensure that federal and local security forces deployed are properly and clearly identified and would use force only when necessary, proportionately and in accordance with international standards,” Throssell said. “There have been reports that peaceful protesters have been detained by unidentified police officers.” 

It is important to note that the troops, part of the US Marshals Service’s Special Operations Group as part of Homeland Security, belong to a new federal force created last month in an executive order signed by President Trump which tasks them to protect historic monuments, memorials, statues, and federal facilities. The personnel are drawn from a range of teams including the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency and the US Marshals Service.

When asked by NPR  why some officers did not display name tags,  the agency responded that the officers were wearing CBP insignia but their names were not displayed “due to recent doxing incidents against law enforcement personnel who serve and protect our country.”

The UN Has taken an active role in criticizing the US government during the recent unrest. In a statement last month, the “UN experts” accused the police in the US of “modern-day racial terror lynchings.” A committee was tasked with investigating “systemic racism” in the US. 

The UN report went on to claim the police in the US were based in “slave patrols.”

“The origin story of policing in the United States of America starts with slave patrols and social control, where human property of enslavers was ‘protected’ with violence and impunity against people of African descent. In the US, this legacy of racial terror remains evident in modern-day policing”, they said.

The UNHRC has been accused of anti-Israel bias, a particular criticism being its focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at each session as Agenda Item 7. The Council voted on 30 June 2006 to make a review of alleged human rights abuses by Israel a permanent feature of every council session.

It is interesting to note that while the UNHRC condemns the US for its handling of the riots that were sparked by the murder of George Floyd, Sudan, a member of the council, still has slavery. Qatar, another member, is a major funder of terrorist groups including the Islamic State (ISIS).