Personally, I am delighted with the noise around the world following the death of George Floyd bringing prejudicial treatment and outright racial discrimination past and present to the attention of everyone who is willing to listen. As we know the death of George Floyd is not a one-off instance.
Back in January a French delivery driver who died after being arrested in Paris pleaded, “I’m suffocating” several times as police held him to the ground. Four police officers are being questioned for “involuntary homicide” over the arrest of 42-year-old Cédric Chouviat near the Eiffel Tower. Police said they stopped Chouviat on his scooter after claiming he was looking at his mobile phone and had a dirty licence plate. Officers also said he was disrespectful and abusive and resisted arrest.
His family appealed to president Emmanuel Macron to order the suspension of the four officers and demanded that the police be “permanently banned” from using the chokehold and prone restraint, in which a person is forced face down on to the ground to be handcuffed.
Whilst these incidents hit the headlines other suffering continues to take place under the radar for most people across the world.
A deadly crackdown by Myanmar’s army in 2017 on Rohingya Muslims sent hundreds of thousands fleeing across the border into Bangladesh. They risked everything to escape by sea or on foot a military offensive which the UN later described as a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing”.
The country’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi, once a human rights icon, has repeatedly denied allegations of genocide. Described by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres as “one of, if not the, most discriminated people in the world”, the Rohingya are one of Myanmar’s many ethnic minorities.
Since independence from Ethiopia the People’s Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDI) is the only legal party in Eritrea. President Isaias Afwerki has been in office since independence in 1993. In a 2008 interview the President stated that “Eritrea will wait three or four decades, maybe more, before it holds elections. Who knows?”
The president uses the absence of a peace deal with Ethiopia as grounds for what he does, including forced conscription into the military with some serving indefinitely. There are no political opponents due to it being illegal and anyone who questions the president is jailed indefinitely. Independent media is banned, and journalists imprisoned.
Finally, let’s not forget the Uyghurs who are being locked up in internment camps that have been operated by the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region government for the purpose of indoctrinating Uyghurs and other Muslims since 2017. In his new ‘tell all’ book John Bolton talks about these camps and below is an extract.
“With only interpreters present, Xi had explained to Trump why he was basically building concentration camps in Xinjiang. According to our interpreter, Trump said that Xi should go ahead with building the camps, which Trump thought was exactly the right thing to do,” Bolton writes. “The National Security Council’s top Asia staffer, Matthew Pottinger, told me that Trump said something very similar during his November 2017 trip to China.”
We truly have a long way to go to solving this global problem.