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UN Experts make historic visit to the Twin Cities

May 1, 2023

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  • Angela Rose Myers -
  • Elina Castillo Jiménez -

MINNEAPOLIS - On May 2nd, 2023, the United Nations Expert Mechanism to Advance Racial Justice and Equality in the context of Law Enforcement (EMLER) will visit the Twin Cities during its country visit to the United States. EMLER was created after the global outcry of the murder of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020, started in Minnesota.

The visit is a result of coordinated efforts of community members, activists, and organizations that united to call the Expert Mechanism to Minnesota. In organizing a wealth of responses to the Mechanism's call for input, the Twin Cities community expressed a strong desire to meet with international human rights experts and share their stories, experiences, and expertise concerning systemic racism in law enforcement.

"George Floyd was the face of hundreds of Black and minority people that have lost their life at the hands of the law enforcement in Minnesota and thousands around the United States. For each person, there was a grieving family left behind. Just as George Floyd was the face of those victims, Derek Chavin was the face of not all, but many police officers serving in our Black and Brown communities," said Toshira Garraway from Families Supporting Families Against Police Violence (FSFAPV)

"In Minnesota, there have been over 500 bodies reported that have been taken at the hands of law enforcement in the year 2000. We must ENSURE that the lived experiences of Black and Brown communities in Minnesota are not minimized or covered up, but rather elevated so that we can all live free from violence and discrimination. As human beings, we must believe that an injustice done to one of us is an injustice done to ALL of us as human beings. We must believe that in our hearts and MOVE as such", added Toshira Garraway.

EMLER's historic meeting with Twin Cities civil society will take place at the Urban League Twin Cities (2100 Plymouth Ave N, Minneapolis, MN 55411) from 9am to noon CT and it is open to the public with previous registration. During this session, community leaders will shed light on the lived experiences of Black communities by sharing their testimonies on police violence and solitary confinement. In the afternoon, the experts will meet with government officials and other stakeholders to discuss systemic racism and police violence in Minnesota.

EMLER's engagement with the Twin Cities community provides an unprecedented opportunity to address the systemic state-sanctioned violence against Black communities in Minnesota. Time and time again, Minnesota's elected leaders have failed to make meaningful change in the state's law enforcement practices and accountability mechanisms. In amplifying the voices of those most impacted by police violence, EMLER's visit empowers the Twin Cities community to be at the center of calls for just solutions.

The Minnesota visit is organized by Families Supporting Families Against Police Violence, Atlas of Blackness, Urban League Twin Cities/Minneapolis, University of Minnesota, Center for Victims of Torture, Advocates for Human Rights, the Minnesota Research Justice Center, and UN Antiracism Coalition (UNARC).


About UN's Expert Mechanism to Advance Racial Justice and Equality in the context of Law Enforcement (EMLER):

The Expert Mechanism was established in 2021 by the UN Human Rights Council. In September 2022, it presented its first report to the Human Rights Council, which stressed that law enforcement officials in many countries continued to kill African persons and people of African descent in near total impunity.

EMLER experts also recently weighed in on two such lethal incidents in the US, expressing 'grave concern' over the deaths of Keenan Anderson, killed by Los Angeles police, and Tyre Nichols, killed by police in Memphis (Tennessee).

EMLER works to address legacies of colonialism and the Transatlantic slave trade that continue to perpetuate global anti-Blackness; investigate Governments' responses to peaceful anti-racism protests and all violations of international human rights law; contribute to accountability and redress for victims. Through country visits, the Expert Mechanism's members will meet with individuals directly impacted by police violence and offer recommendations to support states in their efforts to combat systemic racism in law enforcement.

The four other cities included in EMLER's country visit to the U.S. from April 24th to May 5th, 2023, are New York City, Chicago, Atlanta, Washington D.C., and Los Angeles.