CHICAGO, USA - Independent UN human rights experts on Monday called for action to remedy racialised police violence and misconduct within Chicago’s law enforcement and criminal justice system against people of African and Latino descent.

“Chicago has a long history of law enforcement officials reportedly using torture to extract confessions to serious crimes,” the experts said.

This resulted in wrongful convictions and incarceration - often for long periods of time without adequate access to healthcare.

“These heinous alleged human rights violations appear to a significant extent to be rooted in systemic racism and have disproportionately affected people of African and Latin American descent.”

“Lives have been stolen, with a significant ripple effect within communities,” the Human Rights Council-appointed experts continued.

Steps taken at City Hall

City authorities in Chicago have taken steps to address reported human rights violations, including the issuing of a public apology and the establishment of a Torture Inquiry and Relief Commission, to acknowledge, remedy and prevent police torture and misconduct, the Special Rapporteurs and Working Group members said.

While these initiatives are welcome, there is still a long way to go, they stated. They are concerned that reforms have been piecemeal with systemic barriers to rehabilitation.

Reports also indicate that alleged human rights violations have taken place largely without real accountability for perpetrators.

The UN rights experts issued a call for relevant federal, state and local officials to take immediate and comprehensive action in Chicago and have been in contact with the US Government to clarify its obligations under international law.

“A just society must address past wrongs and put in place all measures to prevent recurrence,” the experts said.