Statement: Black Lives Matter
Written by Sharon Zheng, Mia Edwards, and Dan Titherington
In the past few days, the world has lit up with the sounds and actions of what can only be described as those wishing to be heard. This was due, at least in part, to the death of George Floyd in the US.
Here in the UK, we have watched with disbelief at the scenes happening in cities across the US. We have seen the use of rubber bullets, arrests of journalists and protestors, police stations being burnt down and the destruction of property.
While staring at these scenes, we should remember our past, notably Article 19 of the UN Charter which states “everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression.” This statement is there for people who wish to be heard, who wish to voice their grievances, worries, and even hate and disdain at a regime, government or action. This statement has been enshrined in laws across the world where nearly every country gives their people the right to protest.
We see and condemn both the systemic racism and the police brutality that have escalated and directly violated the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is important to note that the underlying racial tensions that were laid bare by the death of George Floyd are not new. Systematic racism has always been rampant in governmental institutions and interwoven into the social fabrics of our everyday lives and interactions. Abuses of power by representatives of the state should not and will not be tolerated by those who wish for a society free of inequality and injustice.
We must learn to not repeat the mistakes of history. The voices of anyone with social or political grievances deserve to be heard and governments should make every effort to ensure those voices are at the core of their thinking and policies. Only then can the injustice towards George Floyd and the countless others killed by systematic and structural oppression be rectified.