Petition to the United Nations on the Crime of Genocide against African People in the United States of America
- Opening statements
We, the undersigned, charge that the United States government has historically committed the crime of genocide against African people inside its borders, and continues to do so today, often with the complicity of many U.S. citizens.
It is in the interest of all freedom-loving peoples worldwide to unite with African people, colonized within the borders of the United States, in our struggle for our basic human rights of freedom from state-imposed violence and oppression and for self-determination and liberation with economic and political control over our lives and communities.
The existence of violence, terror and mass murders sanctioned by the U.S. government inside this country is the template for predatory U.S. wars of occupation around the world.
It is our duty to present to the world community compelling evidence documenting the U.S. and European colonial genocide, as defined by the United Nations.
This long-standing assault on the African nation began with the invasion of Africa and the kidnapping and enslavement of African people, persisting in various forms through the centuries up until the present time.
This violence and assault on Africans as a people and the theft of our independence, happiness, labor and resources is the very foundation of the wealth and power of the U.S. and Europe today.
We make it clear that the genocide against African people in the U.S. takes place on land stolen from the Indigenous people who have also faced the most treacherous genocide at the hand of the United States government and citizenry and who are relegated to impoverished reservations where the life expectancy is in the 40s.
We will show that despite the heroic struggle of African people for our civil and constitutional rights during the 1960s, African people exist today under conditions in which the U.S. state powers not only fail to protect our health and well-being as expected under full citizenship, but continually inflict state or state-supported violence and terror on us.
The U.S. government is responsible for mass murders, mass and discriminatory imprisonment, and oppressive conditions in nearly every aspect of life, including education, family life, reproduction, employment, healthcare and freedom of political assembly for African people in the U.S.
Although millions of African people perished on the slave ships on the journey from Africa to the Americas, and though millions of African people were slaughtered by European and American colonizers throughout Africa, and hundreds of millions of Indigenous people of the Western Hemisphere were murdered by Europeans, it is notable that the word genocide did not exist in the English lexicon until its coinage in 1944 in response to the Nazi government’s mass murder of European Jewry.
This petition recognizes that the term genocide is applicable to Africans in the US for the conditions we face historically and today.
- International Law governing the Crime of Genocide and Human Rights:
- In 1946 the General Assembly of the United Nations gave this definition of the crime of genocide:
“Genocide is a denial of the right of existence of entire human groups, as homicide is the denial of the right to live of individual human beings; such denial of the right of existence shocks the conscience of mankind, results in great losses to humanity in the form of cultural and other contributions represented by these human groups, and is contrary to moral law and to the spirit and aims of the United Nations.
“Many instances of such crimes of genocide have occurred when racial, religious, political, and other groups have been destroyed, entirely or in part.
“The punishment of the crime of genocide is a matter of international concern.
“The General Assembly, therefore,
“Affirms that genocide is a crime under international law which the civilized world condemns, and for the commission of which principals and accomplices—whether private individuals, public officials or statesmen, and whether the crime is committed on religious, racial, political or any other grounds—are punishable;
“Invites the Member States to enact the necessary legislation for the prevention and punishment of this crime;
“Recommends that international co-operation be organized between States with a view to facilitating the speedy prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide, and, to this end,
“Requests the Economic and Social Council to undertake the necessary studies, with a view to drawing up a draft convention on the crime of genocide to be submitted to the next regular session of the General Assembly.”
- Article 2 of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, adopted by Resolution 263 (III) A of the United Nations General Assembly on 9 December 1948 states:
“In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group;”
- Article 3 of the Convention states:
The following acts shall be punishable:
(b) Conspiracy to commit genocide;
(c) Direct and public incitement to commit genocide;
(e) Attempt to commit genocide;
(c) Complicity in genocide.
- This petition also cites violations of the following conventions of International Law:
(a) The United Nations Charter;
(b) The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights;
(c) The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights;
(d) The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;
(e) The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
- This petition uses the findings of the International Tribunal on Reparations for Black People in the U.S., held in Brooklyn, NY on November 13-14, 1982, in which a panel of expert witnesses testified and distinguished judges found the U.S. guilty by unanimous vote of the following charges:
- The crime of genocide against African People in the U.S., as defined by the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
- Violation of the United Nations Charter as it relates to the U.S. treatment of Africans in the U.S.
- Violation of the spirit and intent of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
- Violation of the spirit and intent of the International Bill of Human Rights.
It was the determination of the judges of the Tribunal that $4.1 trillion at the 1982 currency rate are due as reparations to African people from the U.S. government for stolen labor alone.
- Synopsis of Evidence:
In this petition we present but a synopsis of the many thousands of pages of documentation of evidence of genocide that could be assembled to expose the role of the U.S. government in the crime of genocide against African people. The examples presented here apply to every aspect of the definition of genocide and fit the punishable acts of genocide as defined by the U.N. Convention.
Brief examples of historical colonial violence towards Africans:
Because the residency of African people in the U.S. is directly attributable to the European assault on Africa and the enslavement of hundreds of millions of Africans, we begin by touching on historical examples of genocide by the U.S. and Europe dating back to the era of chattel slavery and direct colonialism:
- The loss of at least 150,000,000 lives of African people through the European colonial assault on Africa, the kidnapping of African people and forced labor. (See: http://www.africanholocaust.net)
- The loss of self-determination, political independence, all political and personal freedoms, familial and societal control and participation, and peace of mind on the part of an entire nation of people who were subjected to 500 years of human bondage by the United States and the European colonial powers. (See: An Uneasy Equilibrium: The African Revolution versus Parasitic Capitalism by Omali Yeshitela, Chapter III, “African Internationalism”)
- Direct colonialism on the continent of Africa resulting in genocidal violence, including the 10-12 million African people who were slaughtered in addition to millions more who were subjected to colonial terror and physical mutilation by King Leopold of Belgium in his rubber colony in Congo in the early 20th Century. (See: King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa by Adam Hochschild)
- The brutal murders of more than 100,000 Nama and Herero people of Namibia (the former German colony of Southwest Africa) who were rounded up, starved and left to die in the desert in a premeditated fashion by their German colonial occupiers between 1904 and 1907, an act which pre-dated and served as the template for the German murder of 6 million Jews in Germany in the 1930s and 40s. (See: Germany’s Genocide of the Herero: Kaiser Wilhelm II, His General, His Settlers, His Soldiers by Jeremy Sarkin.)
- The torture, rape, containment in barbed wire outdoor prison camps and the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of people in Kenya by the British colonizers during the just struggle for Kenyan independence in the 1950s. (See: The Histories of the Hanged: The Dirty War in Kenya and the End of Empire; Imperial Reckoning ; The Untold Story of Britain’s Gulag in Kenya by David Anderson and Caroline Elkins)
Genocide in US against African people:
- The enslavement of African people inside the U.S., a reality of massive forced productivity by enslaved workers that created the entire foundation of the wealth of the U.S. and European capitalist economy. (See: The Half Has Never Been Told by Professor Edward Baptist and other books and articles)
- The right of the slave master and virtually any white citizen to wield the power of life and death over every African man, woman and child. (See: “The Horrors of Slavery and England’s Duty to Free the Bondsmen” by Frederick Douglass and Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup)
- Forced breeding of African children who were sold by the slave master by retaining African men and women in slave breeding pens and the amount of capital raised through this brutal process. Separation of the children from parents.
- Systematic sexual assault on enslaved African women, children and men. (Case of Thomas Jefferson and much other documentation http://tinyurl.com/c945j5p).
- Continued trauma from the centuries of enslavement that is literally passed down from generation to generation of African people in the U.S. (See: Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America’s Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing by Joy DeGruy Leary)
- Convict leasing, the genocidal system that was called “worse than slavery,” in which the southern states of the U.S. re-enslaved African people, leasing them out as slave laborers to private industry and farmers with an immense death toll. In 1873 nearly a quarter of the Africans leased as convict laborers died while the stolen labor of the leased Africans rebuilt the southern economy after the Civil War. The slogan of convict leasing was “One dies, get another.” (See: Slavery by Another Name by Douglas Blackmon and other books on this subject)
- Mass lynchings and burnings of African people by white citizens which were festivals of white citizen terrorism against African men, women and children. There are at least 10,000 recorded lynchings, many attended by thousands of white people and their children. (See the book: 100 Years of Lynchings by Ralph Ginzburg; see photos: http://withoutsanctuary.org/main.html)
- White massacres and destruction of black towns such as Tulsa, OK and Rosewood, FL.(See: The Burning: The Massacre, Destruction and the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921, by Tim Madigan)
- COINTELPRO: The U.S. government’s counterinsurgency against the Black Liberation Movement of the 1960s and assassinations of African political leaders in the U.S. who were struggling for civil rights and political power over black communities. (See the book: The COINTELPRO Papers by Ward Churchill)
- Mass imprisonment of African people. The U.S. has by far the largest prison population on Earth with 2.3 million people incarcerated and about 7 million people awaiting trial, on probation or behind bars. Half of the prisoners in the U.S. are impoverished African people and another quarter are Mexican or other non-white people. By comparison, China has three times the U.S. population but only 1.5 million in prison. The U.S. prison system has created an enormous economy mostly benefitting the white population. (See: The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander. For the economic gains to the U.S. economy, see: Overturning the Culture of Violence by Penny Hess)
- Conscious imposition of deadly drugs including heroin and crack cocaine into the African community by the U.S. government. (See: Whiteout: CIA, Drugs and the Press by Jeffrey St. Clair and Dark Alliance by Gary Webb)
- Deadly medical experiments on African people without their knowledge, such as the Tuskegee experiment which infected African men with syphilis in the 1930s. (See: Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present by Harriet A. Washington)
Massive police violence and murder of African people. The police murders of unarmed civilians plagues the African community with another killing almost daily. African people of both genders and all ages have been brutally gunned down by police, sparking outrage from the community. (See: Malcolm X Grassroots study: http://tinyurl.com/m8ad557 ; and Police Brutality: An Anthology by Jill Nelson)
- Persistent large employment discrepancies between African and white communities in U.S., with African people facing unemployment rates at least double that of white people. (See: Race and the Invisible Hand by Deirdre Royster and Pew Research Center: “Black unemployment rate is consistently twice that of whites” http://tinyurl.com/ptpl8hb).
- Health discrepancies between black and white people are dire in the areas of HIV/AIDS, infant mortality, life expectancy, heart disease, diabetes etc. (See: “Study Shows Dire Consequences…” http://www.amfar.org/racial-disparities/).
- The rise of black women in prison in the US. There has been a 646 percent increase in black women in prison between 1980 and 2010 (The Sentencing Project: http://tinyurl.com/n9zpw74).
- Millions of African homeowners lost their homes through foreclosure after being targeted for predatory subprime mortgage loans (See: Washington Post, June 12, 2012: “Ex Loan Officer claims Wells Fargo targeted black communities for shoddy loans”)
- The numbers of black children locked up in prison in the U.S.; black juveniles sentenced to life without parole. (See: http://tinyurl.com/pazffxu)
- The discriminatory use of the death penalty against African people in the U.S. The U.S. ranks fifth highest in executions in the world today. In the 44 years between 1976 and 2015, 34 percent of those executed have been African even though African people only make up about 13 percent of the U.S. population. (See: http://tinyurl.com/24okccg)
- Educational discrepancies and the “school to prison pipeline” which criminalizes African children and penalizes them from the earliest age. (See: ACLU: What is the school to prison pipeline? http://tinyurl.com/oypj345)
- African communities are under siege by a fully armed occupation by militarized police forces and SWAT teams. Since the 1990s the U.S. Defense Department has given $4.3 billion in military equipment to police black communities. (See: http://tinyurl.com/qeoystn)
- Recognition by the international community and progressive and friendly states and peoples that European and United States powers committed genocide against African people during the times of colonial occupation, kidnapping, enslavement and exploitation, and that genocide against African people continues today inside of the United States.
- Support for an International Tribunal to pass judgment on the crimes of genocide against African people and solidarity with African self-determination.
- Reparations to African people estimated today at $14 trillion to African people inside the US alone, according to studies conducted at the University of Connecticut. (http://tinyurl.com/qf6tkvz)
- The right to self-determination and the liberation and unification of Africa and African people on the continent of Africa and those who have been forcibly dispersed around the world.
- Black Community Control of Police inside the U.S. and the end to U.S. colonial military occupation of the black community.
- The creation of an international monitoring body covering the daily police violence against African people in the U.S.