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A team of United Nations experts has arrived in the US on a tour that will focus on racial justice, law enforcement and policing.

On Monday, the Expert Mechanism to Advance Racial Justice and Equality in the Context of Law Enforcement, an independent panel appointed by the UN human rights council, began its two-week visit to the US.

The panel, which was established in response to widespread outcry following the killing of the Black man George Floyd in 2020 by a white police officer, is set to visit Washington DC, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago, Minneapolis and New York City.

Floyd’s death was just one of many instances of racist killings by police in the US but – spurred by powerful video shot by bystanders – it triggered widespread protests across America, which then spread internationally.

The UN trip is to “further transformative change for racial justice and equality in the context of law enforcement for Africans and people of African descent”, said the UN.

In addition to visiting government officials at federal, state and local levels, the team will also visit law enforcement authorities, civil society organizations and places of detentions.

“We look forward to gaining first-hand insight about the lived experiences of people of African descent in the United States, and to offer recommendations to the government at all levels, to support efforts in combating systemic racism and excessive use of force, and ensure accountability and justice”, Juan Méndez, a panel member said in a statement.

The panel will examine laws and practices surrounding the use of force by law enforcement officials and whether they are aligned with international human rights standards.

Activists in Atlanta are especially looking forward to the panel, especially as many are opposing the construction of a $90m police and fire department training center known as “Cop City” in a forest south-east of the city.

“Of particular interest is that the EMLER chose to locate their hearing in the very city where so many are saying ‘No to Cop City’ and where a younger generation of political prisoners accused of domestic terrorism is at risk,” an activist in Atlanta told the Guardian.

In recent months, numerous activists protesting against Cop City have been charged with domestic terrorism by prosecutors in what critics call a “complete politicization of the law” and a “judicial pogrom”.

The panel, which will visit Atlanta on Wednesday, will hear testimonies discussing families affected by state violence, the school-to-prison pipeline, political prisoners and access to justice.

“Extrajudicial killings have become increasingly routine in American policing,” said Collette Flanagan, the founder of Mothers Against Police Brutality, whose unarmed son Clinton Allen was killed by police in Dallas, Texas, in 2013.

“They happen literally every day. This deadly police brutality represents a massive human rights violation that falls most heavily on people of African descent. We welcome the Expert Mechanism to Atlanta in the name of our martyred children. We hope this visit will help us move our country to live up to its obligations under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights agreements,” she added in a statement.

As part of its visit, the panel will make recommendations to “ensure access to justice, accountability and redress for excessive use of force and other human rights violations by law enforcement officials against Africans and people of African descent in the United States,” the UN said.

The panel will then present a report about its visit to the UN human rights council at its 54th session this fall.

This content was originally published here.