Jacksonville activist addresses UN committee about racial discrimination in Florida

GENEVA, Switzerland — The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination heard community activist Ben Frazier deliver a discussion on racial discrimination in Florida on Tuesday.

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Frazier presented on what he describes as the racist policies of the DeSantis regime. He is the president of the Northside Coalition of Jacksonville, an advocacy organization dedicated to racial justice.

Frazier addressed the CERD on Tuesday to provide his insights into recent policies approved by the Florida legislature and signed into law by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Frazier says some of those policies negatively impact Florida’s people of color.

“In my home state of Florida, the governor has decided to ignore and disrespect the noble human rights principles that the United Nations stands for,” said Frazier. “For example, Florida’s recently enacted Anti-Protest (HB-1) law is hogwash. It is a violation of our most basic and fundamental individual freedoms.”

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Frazier believes Florida’s HB-1 law was designed to deter, discourage and stop peaceful demonstrations and protests of racial justice issues. He contends the law is racist and racially discriminatory because it targets Black community organizers.

Frazier is looking to CERD to also voice criticism of the new policy as a way to continue the fight for justice.

“We are asking and recommending that the committee denounce and condemn this crooked and corrupt law,” said Frazier.

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The UN CERD is the body that monitors the implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. The countries that have ratified the convention must submit reports on the rights situation within their borders, including how rights are being secured and strengthened.

After such reports are submitted, the committee addresses its concerns and recommendations to the member state in its “concluding observations.” The reports made by member states and the concluding observations of the committee can be important advocacy tools for civil society organizations.