The United Nations — whose World Health Organization arm was just panned for its probe of the COVID-19 pandemic’s origins confined to guidelines set by the Chinese Communist Party — has been formally invited by the Biden administration to investigate “the scourge of racism, racial discrimination, and xenophobia” in the US, according to Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
“As the President has repeatedly made clear, great nations such as ours do not hide from our shortcomings; they acknowledge them openly and strive to improve with transparency,” said Blinken in a statement released Tuesday.
“It is in this context that the United States intends to issue a formal, standing invitation to all UN experts who report and advise on thematic human rights issues,” he continued. “As a first step, we have reached out to offer an official visit by the UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism and the UN Special Rapporteur on minority issues.”
The invitation was extended a little over a year after the lightning-rod death of George Floyd, a black man killed when white Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin — since fired and convicted of murder — knelt on his neck during an arrest.
In a global report issued last month sparked by Floyd’s death, UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet called on nations to “start dismantling racism.”
And earlier this month, Bachelet said that nations should “fully fund … a wide range of reparations measures” to make amends for slavery, discrimination and colonial rule.
The invitation also comes less than a year after the US endured a lashing on its civil rights record before the UN — getting scolded by the likes of China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and North Korea.
In the Tuesday statement, Blinken said that the US had a duty to stand for judgment at the hands of the outside world.
“Responsible nations must not shrink from scrutiny of their human rights record; rather, they should acknowledge it with the intent to improve,” he said. “I urge all UN member states to join the United States in this effort, and confront the scourge of racism, racial discrimination, and xenophobia.”