The Center for Human Rights, Gender and Migration grieves the tragic death of George Floyd last week, and of Tony McDade, Nina Pop, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Philando Castile, Yvette Smith, Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant, and too many others in recent memory. We stand in solidarity with the Black community and its demands to dismantle 400 years of structural racism once and for all. We join in the call for justice. We object to militarization of our streets and state violence against those protesting injustice.
Further, as a Center focused on human rights, we invoke the principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948, to guide the international community out of the dark wake of our second World War. These principles apply to all people in the United States and around the globe, including the Black people whose deaths we mourn today. They had the right to be free from discrimination, from degrading treatment, from arbitrary arrest. They had the right not to be killed while jogging, while playing, while standing in their own homes. And we all have the right to protest their loss.
“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” Art. 1
“Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.” Art. 2
“No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” Art. 5
“All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law.” Art. 7
“No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.” Art 9
“No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with [her] privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon [her] honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.” Art. 12
“Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.” Art. 20(1)
We will not tire of the well-worn words of Martin Luther King Jr: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.” His words are as fresh and urgent as ever.
We at the Center for Human Rights, Gender and Migration hear them loud and clear and we commit to redoubling our efforts to not only address human rights abuses committed abroad, but those occurring in our own country as well. We start with the simple yet still-contested truth that Black Lives Matter.