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IHRC students’ work influences formation of UN panel examining systemic racism
USC Gould School of Law

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Submission included more than 40 recommendations for dealing with systemic racism in U.S. law enforcement
 
By Leslie Ridgeway
 
Recommendations by two USC Gould International Human Rights Clinic students as part of a collaborative submission were cited in a report to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland advocating for law enforcement reforms to address systemic racism against Africans and those of African descent.
 
Recommendations by 3Ls Laura Penaranda and Ava Habibian were cited in a report to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland.
The submission was written in collaboration with Access Now, a civil rights nonprofit, by 3Ls Laura Penaranda and Ava Habibian. It included an overview of federal, state and local laws and policies affecting the rights of peaceful protestors in the U.S. and the absence of accountability for abuse of those rights. Their submission included more than 40 recommendations for dealing with systemic racism in U.S. law enforcement, said Hannah Garry, founding director of IHRC.
 
“I am proud to say that the High Commissioner cited to Laura and Ava’s submission 12 times (a few times as sole authority) in making her recommendations to U.N. Member States,” Garry said. Following the report, the U.N. decided to form a panel of experts to investigate systemic racism in policing, according to a story posted in mid-July in The New York Times, which also quoted Garry. 
 
“It’s a very important step forward,” she said. “I see this international mechanism as a precursor to a future commission of inquiry.”
 
The submission was an outgrowth of work Habibian and Penaranda began in fall 2020, when they joined an effort by 600 civil society groups to ask the U.N. to condemn the killing of George Floyd and look into systemic racism in the U.S.
 

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