A UN affiliated group based in Geneva has released a report which recommends reparations for blacks following what it describes as a “legacy of colonial history, enslavement, racial subordination and segregation, racial terrorism and racial inequality in the United States”. It further states that “there remains a serious challenge, as there has been no real commitment to reparations and to truth and reconciliation for people of African descent in the USA”. The full report is available here.
Among many recommendations, the working group “urges reinstatement of the voting rights of persons convicted of a felony who have completed their sentences”. This is important considering that one in every 3-4 African American is likely to be incarcerated. The African American population is only about 13% of the USA population yet members of this community make up roughly 60% of those in American prisons.
This report also highlights other systemic injustices and racial bias that has impoverished and continue to work against the progress of blacks in America.
“The Working Group noted that a number of factors contributed to the disparities faced by African Americans in realizing the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health, which included lack of access to health insurance coverage, lack of access to preventive services and care, and shortcomings related to a lack of diversity and of cultural competency among those giving the care. While the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has led to 20 million people getting health insurance coverage, states with some of the widest health disparities in the country have rejected expansion of Medicaid, one of the main tools to cover the uninsured. Nine out of ten people who fall into the coverage gap live in the South, and black adults are more likely than any other racial group to be affected. The impact of social determinants such as lack of access to good-quality and healthy housing conditions, lack of education and employment, and transportation barriers also continued to serve as impediments to full enjoyment of the right to health”.
The report further noted that “contemporary police killings and the trauma that they create are reminiscent of the past racial terror of lynching”.