The United Nations is launching an investigation into alleged racism in the United States. U.N. representatives say that according to their report, prepared in March of this year, American security forces too willingly profile people of Middle Eastern origin.
Senegalese lawyer Doudou Diene, a U.N. special envoy, is to start his investigation on Monday. During his three-week mission, he is scheduled to meet with federal and local officials that are to answer his questions about how American agencies work and whether they negatively focus on racial minorities such as Arabs and Southern Asians. A U.N. press release issued last Friday said the investigator would “gather first-hand information on issues related to racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.”
White House officials refused to comment on U.N. accusations. However, there is no doubt that the investigation will enrage conservatives within the administration who perceive the United Nations as an impotent organization that wastes billions of dollars on doubtful projects. John Bolton, who served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations from August 2005 to December 2006, once remarked that “there’s no such thing as the United Nations. If the U.N. secretary building in New York lost 10 stories, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference.”
The United States has adopted stricter airport control since the September 11, 2001, attacks. Although the Bush Administration has continually rejected the notion that the new regulation only affected one group of citizens, the U.N. report, released in March this year, stated that “such practice continues to be widespread, particularly against Arabs, Muslims and South Asians.” It also warned Washington that “measures taken in the fight against terrorism must not discriminate, in purpose or effect, on the grounds of race, color, or national or ethnic origin.”
According to the report some 800 incidents that involved people from Asia and the Middle East have taken place since September 11, 2001. Apart from racial profiling, the United Nations also criticizes America for sustaining the death penalty and life sentences for juvenile criminals. U.N. officials remind that the United States is one of the very few countries that still have not issued a moratorium on capital punishment and is second – only to China – when it comes to the number of executions carried out every year.
It is surprising that the United Nations launches its investigation into alleged American racism now. After all, the United States is the only western country where a black politician stands a realistic chance of becoming president. At the same time, U.N. officials say nothing when every year more immigrants from Africa and Asia are murdered in Russia than in all European countries put together. Also they refuse to react when Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad threatens to wipe Israel off the map. It is not the United States that is racist; it’s the United Nations.