UN Committee Against Torture

Summary of We Charge Genocide Trip to United Nations Committee Against Torture

We Charge Genocide Sends Delegation to United Nations

On November 12-14, 2014, We Charge Genocide (WCG)  sent a delegation of eight youth to Geneva, Switzerland to present evidence of police violence at the 53rd session of the United Nations Committee Against Torture. The delegation was following up on the submission of the shadow report Police Violence Against Youth of Color, which WCG had published after a period of documentation, research, and collecting testimony, which took place during summer 2014.  The  goal of addressing the United Nations, in following with the WCG mission, was to increase visibility of police violence in Chicago and call out the continued impunity of police officers who abuse, harass, and kill youth of color in Chicago every year.

The WCG youth delegation documented their trip to Geneva on social media. The delegation also made the decision to walkout during the second day of the proceeding and  initiated a historic protest inside the United Nations during the presentation of U.S. Government representatives.

From the beginning, WCG hoped for an official statement from the international body of UNCAT calling out the Chicago Police Department by name as a source of torture in the United States.  This happened on November 28th, 2014, when the United Nations Committee Against Torture (UNCAT) released concluding remarks in review of United States government’s implementation of Convention Against Torture. Police shootings and “fatal pursuit of unarmed black individuals”, lack of statistical data on police brutality, and failure to show investigations addressing the issue are all mentioned in the UNCAT remarks. The Chicago Police Department is called out by name.  The death of Dominique Franklin Jr. by a police tasering is cited specifically. These are the issues that the WCG youth delegation traveled all the way to Geneva to speak about during the 53rd session of the Committee Against Torture.

“The Committee is particularly concerned at the reported current police violence in Chicago, especially against African-American and Latino young people who are allegedly being consistently profiled, harassed and subjected to excessive force by Chicago Police Department (CPD) officers.” -Concluding observations on the third to fifth periodic reports of United States of America, Committee Against Torture, November 28th, 2014

We Charge Genocide was not the only group with Chicago connections that presented evidence at the UNCAT on police torture, but was the main group focused on violence against youth of color.  Here are some of the other group that presented on key issues:

  • Martinez Sutton address UNCAT regarding the death of his sister Rekia Boyd, who was killed by an off duty Chicago police detective in 2012.
  • Shubra Ohri from People’s Law Office followed up on the Burge torture cases, which CAT condemed in past reviews, and pushed CAT to support the reparations Ordinance in Chicago.
  • Nikki Patin of Black Women’s Blueprint (organization based in NYC but she lives in Chicago) addressed police rape as torture against Black women.
  • Monica James from Transformative Justice Law Project testified on the profiling and abuse of transgender women of color by the state (including law enforcement) and isolation of transgender women in prison.


Videos from live streaming of CAT session are now available. 

There is also an English transcript.

Chicago Report Back Event

reportback crowd groupphoto
On December 11th, the We Charge Genocide youth delegation spoke at a public reportback on their experiences in Geneva, Switzerland to an audience of over 200 in Chicago  The entire event was live-streamed and the video is available here.

The official remarks of Ethan, Asha, and Breanna from UNCAT proceedings were also repeated for the audience in Chicago during the reportback event.  These statements, along with the WCG report, were key in the Committee Against Torture naming the Chicago Police Department specifically as source of police violence and torture in the United States.

Ethan’s Statement to the Committee Against Torture

Asha’s Statement to representatives of U.S. government

Breanna’s Statement as a directly impacted individual



Statement: WCG Walks Out on US Gov’t Representatives at the UN

Malcolm and Asha at the UN, moments before the delegation walked out in response to the US government representatives' statements.

Malcolm and Asha at the UN, moments before the delegation walked out in response to the US government representatives’ statements.

WCG Walks Out on US Gov’t Representatives at the UN

Last night, the We Charge Genocide team walked out on the 23 U.S. government representatives during their time to respond to the concerns we raised. Asha presented our 2-minute statement, which included a critique that there is no real mechanism for pointing to the police as a source of violence or for accountability. For two hours, we supported survivors and advocates speaking on their issues and telling their stories.

The session finished with a response from the representatives of the state. We were insulted by their suggestion that 330 police in the past 5 years being prosecuted could even begin to rectify the violence Black and Brown communities experience at the hands of the police and the state, considering that there were 300+ taserings by the police in Chicago alone in one year.

Like we asserted in our statement, we were not accepting any apologies or any excuses. And so, the WCG crew walked out the moment we heard this ridiculous claim of “progress”. We left the state reps squirming in their seats and were happy to arrive to their review in the morning to hear the UN Committee Against Torture grill them on all the issues we raised.

To summarize, the U.S. government is in the hot seat at the UN this week and we are being heard. Much thanks from the 8 delegates to everyone sending us love and solidarity from afar.

#WCGtoUN @chicopwatch

Screen Shot 2014-11-12 at 11.27.28 AM











Screen Shot 2014-11-12 at 11.30.48 AM

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons