While officials in Barcelona lobby to replace what they say is a symbol of oppression and slavery, a United Nations panel is calling on the United States to offer reparations to black people for the country's history of "racial terrorism," per the Washington Post. In a nonbinding report presented to the UN's Human Rights Council on Monday, experts called the US "legacy of colonial history, enslavement, racial subordination and segregation, racial terrorism, and racial inequality in the United States … a serious challenge," adding that recent police brutality cases evoke memories of past lynchings. Further, "there has been no real commitment to reparations and to truth and reconciliation for people of African descent." The researchers came to their conclusions after visiting the US in January, making stops in New York City, Chicago, Baltimore, DC, and the Jackson, Miss., area, per a press release.
The Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent gathered info on racism, discrimination, and other forms of intolerance that African Americans and those of African descent experience, as well as the systems put in place to combat these issues (one thumbs-up went to the decision to halt NYC's former stop-and-frisk policy). The group's aim was to "[focus] on both good practices and challenges faced in [realizing] their human rights." CBS News notes that the panel was formed 14 years ago shortly after a conference abandoned by the US partly because of the call for reparations. The experts' recommendations for what reparations to the black community could entail include "a formal apology, health initiatives, educational opportunities ... psychological rehabilitation ... and debt cancellation," per the report. (Ta-Nehisi Coates made the case for reparations in 2014.)