U.S. Visit Documentary

U.S. Visit Report

UN Expert Mechanism's Visit
to the United States

From 24 April to 5 May the United Nations International Independent Expert Mechanism to Advance Racial Justice and Equality in the Context of Law Enforcement (EMLER) conducted their first ever fact finding visit to the United States. The experts visited Washington D.C., Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago, Minneapolis, and New York City. They met with local and national government officials, law enforcement representatives, civil society organizations, grassroots groups and academics, as well as victims of police brutality and their families.

With support from the UN Antiracism Coalition (UNARC) and its local members and partners in each city, the experts heard testimonies from approximately 131 victims and their families across five cities held in the form of UN public hearings. The coalition and its local partners planned all aspects of the UN public hearings before EMLER including selection and securing of locations for the hearings, providing refreshments and food, creating the agenda, and selecting and preparing all impacted people for their testimonies. The coalition and its members and partners also provided emotional support for those testifying, which was especially critical as it was most important to UNARC that the visit not re-traumatize those individuals giving their testimony.

On 26 September 2023 the EMLER experts published their report about this visit highlighting, at the end of the report, the names of all individuals who testified with UNARC´s help. The report also mentions the need to eliminate police presence in schools and the use of alternative response teams to mental health crises. Additionally, the report echoes what the coalition has been saying for years: violence in law enforcement is a legacy of slavery and the transatlantic trade in enslaved Africans.  It also confesses that from then until now people of African descent have suffered from systemic racism in a variety of ways: 

“The end of this heinous market and the abolition of slavery 158 years ago by the 13th Amendment of theUnited States Constitution did not in itself delete the racially discriminatory structures created by those practices.”

Please find below a timeline of the EMLER U.S. visit with important links. 

U.S. VISIT TIMELINE:

Timeline Description
November 2023
October 2023

U.S. visit report breakdown (done by UNARC) HERE

5 October 2023

ACLU/UNARC side event “Human Rights Approaches to Reimagining Policing and Community Safety in the United States”: This virtual side event discussed the relevance of two EMLER reports, the thematic report “reimagining police'' and the report following EMLER´s visit to the United States.  These were analyzed in the context of the ongoing vital debate regarding the role of law enforcement in American society and the need for transformative change and reimagining community safety.

26 September 2023

U.S. Visit Report Released by International Independent Expert Mechanism to Advance Racial Justice and Equality in the Context of Law Enforcement (EMLER) - Visit to the United States of America HERE 

24 April - 5 May

UNARC`s role during the visit:


UNARC's role in the visit was coordinating all the civil society and directly impacted people's testimonies. These included all aspects of organizing civil society so that they could be heard, including but not limited to securing locations, contacting and preparing directly impacted people, organizations, and communities, arranging for travel when necessary, communicating with the experts and their team, and functioning as a liaison between civil society and the EMLER Secretariat.

It is important to note that the ACLU and Mothers Against Police Brutality were part of the general planning and organizing along with UNARC. Additionally, the Center for Constitutional Rights and the National Lawyers Guild gave valuable contributions in funds, media support, logistics, etc.

February to April 2023
UNARC preps for visit
January 2024
UNARC releases U.S. visit report

The Expert Mechanism seeks to understand the USA’s efforts in combatting structural and institutional racism, the excessive use of force, and other human rights violations by law enforcement against Africans and people of African descent, in the spirit of cooperation and dialogue.

During the visit, the Expert Mechanism will study:

  • Recent analytical reports or surveys on Africans and People of African descent examining structural and institutional racism, excessive use of force, and other human rights violations by law enforcement and the criminal justice system against them in the USA.
  • Information on the policies, programmes, practices, and legal framework concerning law enforcement, the criminal justice system and Africans and People of African descent in the USA.
  • Information on emblematic cases concerning Africans and people of African descent and their interaction with law enforcement or the criminal justice system including any judicial action, accountability and reparation measures taken in the USA.
  • Priority issues concerns and situations that warrant the Expert Mechanism's attention in the USA.
  • Suggestions on issues to examine and related places to visit in the USA.
  • Suggestions on government officials and civil society actors to meet in different regions in the USA.

Objectives of Emler's Visit

International Independent Experts Mechanism

International Independent Experts Mechanism

EMLER is a United Nations mechanism created in 2021 by the Human Rights Council to specifically focus on the “promotion and protection of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of Africans and of people of African descent against excessive use of force and other human rights violations by law enforcement officers through transformative change for racial justice and equality.”

The United Nations Expert Mechanism to Advance Racial Justice and Equality in Law Enforcement
The United Nations Expert Mechanism to Advance Racial Justice and Equality in Law Enforcement

Meet our U.S. Visit Team

Kerry McLean

UN Advocacy Consultant coordinating the civil society side of the EMLER visit to the United States for UNARC (April 24 to May 5, 2023).

Kerry is an international human rights lawyer and social justice activist. Over the past 17 years, Kerry has lived in Africa, Europe, and Asia, working with local and international organizations on human rights and international development.  

She has engaged in significant U.N. advocacy, including litigation with treaty-monitoring bodies, writing shadow reports concerning compliance with CERD, CEDAW, and CAT, Human Rights Council advocacy, coordinating civil society organizations for UPR reports, and working with U.N. Special Procedures mandate holders. Kerry has worked on litigation at the European Court of Human Rights and has done advocacy at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. She has provided training and delivered lectures on international human rights in the United States and other parts of the world. 

Kerry has served as an election observer in Cambodia, Honduras, Venezuela, El Salvador, and Abkhazia. She has also served as a trial observer in Turkey for trials involving persecuted lawyers and human rights defenders, and she organizes solidarity activities for Turkey with multiple organizations.

She is a member of the Geneva Support Group for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights in Western Sahara, an international advocacy coalition that supports the fight of the Saharawi people for independence and self-determination.

Kerry was a lead organizer of and served as the spokesperson for the International Commission of Inquiry on Systemic Racist Police Violence Against People of African Descent in the United States, which investigated and evaluated cases of police violence. 

Kerry serves as a Co-Chair of the ABA’s International Human Rights Committee and a Vice Chair of the ABA’s Africa Committee. She is a former national board member of the National Lawyers Guild and current Co-Chair of the NLG International Committee. She is the recipient of the Guild’s 2021 Debra Evenson Venceremos International Award for her work “extending justice beyond borders.”

Kerry is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School, where she received the Jenny Runkles Award for devotion to public interest and was a two-time recipient of the Bates Fellowship for overseas work. She is admitted to practice in New York.

Our Team - UNARC Salimah Hankins

Salimah Hankins

Director for the UN Antiracism Coalition (UNARC) where she supports the engagement of organizations around the world, who are working on United Nations accountability for systemic racism and police violence against Africans and people of African Descent. Salimah is also an attorney and former community organizer with over 15 years of experience in the area of civil and human rights. Before this, she served as the Executive Director of the US Human Rights Network (USHRN), a non-governmental organization that facilitates the access of grassroots groups to the United Nations and other international human rights bodies.

In 2020, Salimah led the creation of a virtual healing and story-telling event with the families of Black people killed by police in the United States including Michael Brown, Sandra Bland, Amaud Arbery, and others. Also, in 2020, under Salimah’s leadership, USHRN worked with civil society to bring the case of George Floyd’s killing to the United Nations which was a precursor to the creation of a brand new UN mechanism, the Expert Mechanism to Advance Racial Justice and Equality in Law Enforcement (EMLER

Salimah has produced seven annual human rights reports for USHRN and her writing has  been featured in a number of publications including International Journal of Human Rights Education, Poverty & Race, and Social Text (Duke University Press). She began her legal career as an associate at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Maryland, advocating for the rights of low-income communities of color living in Baltimore’s public housing. More recently, she served as Senior Staff Attorney for Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto, CA, where she worked with community groups to secure an affordable housing fund worth $75 million as the result of a settlement with Facebook. Her work was featured in The Guardian,Financial Times, and a number of other publications. In 2022, Salimah was invited to speak at the UNESCO Global Forum Against Racism and Discrimination in Mexico City.

Salimah received her undergraduate degree from Northeastern University where she studied International Law and Comparative Politics, and her law degree from Suffolk University Law School, both located in Boston, Massachusetts. She has served as a human rights fellow at the Urban Justice Center, and was selected for the Whitney M. Young fellowship at Columbia University. She is a licensed member of the (legal) bar in California, Massachusetts, and Washington, D.C. and has been a certified professional coach and RYT 200 yoga teacher for BIPOC activists.   Originally from New Orleans, Salimah is also a singer/songwriter who will release her debut album in 2023.  

Nayara Khaly

Nayara Khaly is joining the UN Antiracism Coalition as its Fellow in 2023 from São Paulo, Brasil. She is an International Relations Master’s degree student at the Federal University of ABC (UFABC) and holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Affairs from São Paulo State University (UNESP).

Nayara is engaged in Migration Rights academic research and social justice activism through the intersectionalities of gender and race in South America. Previously, she worked with NGOs focused on children and adolescents’ education and as an Afro-Brazilian culture teacher. She has extensive experience working as a parliamentary advisor for the state legislator Erica Malunguinho at the Legislative Assembly of São Paulo, focusing on the development of race, gender, and sexuality policies.

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