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Killing of unarmed black man in U.S. draws widespread condemnation in Africa

Protestors demonstrate against the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the United States, May 31, 2020. Photo by Angus Alexander/Xinhua

NAIROBI, June 2 (Xinhua) -- The killing of George Floyd, an African American who died in police custody last week, is drawing fierce condemnation in Africa as two separate autopsies released Monday both found Floyd's death to be a homicide.
 

The African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat on Friday condemned the police "murder" of Floyd in the United States.

Mahamat was referring to the death of George Floyd on May 25 shortly after a white police officer in Minneapolis held him down with a knee on his neck for almost nine minutes despite pleas by Floyd he was struggling to breathe.

 

"I strongly condemn the murder of George Floyd that occurred in the United States of America at the hands of law enforcement officers, and wishes to extend my deepest condolences to his family and loved ones," he said in a statement.

 

"The AU Commission firmly reaffirms and reiterates its rejection of the continuing discriminatory practices against Black citizens of the United States of America," it said. "I urge the authorities in the United States of America to intensify their efforts to ensure the total elimination of all forms of discrimination based on race or ethnic origin," said the statement from Mahamat.

 

The president of Ghana, Nana Akuffo-Addo, also condemned the killing on Monday night on his official Facebook account as violent protests continue in dozens of U.S. cities following his death in police custody.

"Black People, the world over, are shocked and distraught by the killing of an unarmed man, George Floyd, by a white police officer in the United States of America. It carried with it an all too painful familiarity and an ugly reminder," said the president.

"We stand with our kith and kin in America in these difficult times, and we hope that the unfortunate, tragic death of George Floyd will inspire a lasting change in how America confronts head-on the problems of hate and racism," said Akuffo-Addo.

Former African presidents also joined the condemnation. The Forum of Former Heads of State and Government has urged African countries to "raise a strong protest" to the killing and demand that the "perpetrators of this crime and all other crimes of this sort be punished in the strongest terms", according to a statement released by former Beninese President Nicephore Soglo. South Africa's ruling party, African National Congress (ANC), has deplored rising racial discrimination in the United States, calling for "an amicable solution" to the current racial impasse.

"While we note the action taken by American authorities in charging one of the officers who was caught on camera kneeling on an unarmed (George) Floyd, it is equally concerning that incidents of police brutality against African American citizens are on the increase," the party said in a statement available to Xinhua on Tuesday.

The cascade of recent cases involving police brutality against black Americans "has sharpened the focus on inescapable realities that American society places a perilously low value on black lives," the ANC said.

"It's deplorable that almost 70 years since racial segregation was abolished in America, people of color are still routinely slaughtered for the color of their skin," the party said. The ANC urged the South African government to engage with the American government through established diplomatic channels to defuse racial tensions and build social cohesion among different races.

"Despite the American constitution granting citizenship to every American, and blacks are Americans, the political and economic system is biased against those at the bottom of the social pyramid," said Elisio Macamo, a sociologist from Mozambique, currently a professor of African Studies at the University of Basel.

"The racial problem in America is, on the one hand, the sequel to a poorly worked past and, on the other hand, a manifestation of the limits of a liberal political culture that does not place the creation of opportunities as a means for the individual to actually enjoy freedom," said Macamo.

Zambian human rights specialist Eugene Kabilika challenged the United States to demonstrate by example the human rights it purports to promote by dealing sternly with perpetrators of criminal injustice. 

Kabilika, who is Caritas Zambia Executive Director, further explained that the history of the U.S. is full of such unfortunate stories of racial discrimination against African Americans noting that they (African Americans) have undergone many struggles that include being freed from slavery and having the opportunity to vote.

He further asserted that such happenings create instability and lead to lack of peace in the world, adding that it is up to the leaders to move into the right trajectory and failure to which the world becomes unsafe for all.

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