Statement on Racial Violence and Human Rights

June 3, 2020

The police killing of George Floyd lays bare, once again, longstanding racism in the United States. The anger we are seeing over his death—alongside the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, and so many others—is connected to our nation’s failure to make systemic reforms that address discrimination and police violence against communities of color. 

In response, we call on our nation’s political leaders, including President Donald Trump, to stop fomenting violence and hate and to address the underlying causes of racial and economic injustice. We also call for a thorough investigation into the killing of George Floyd, including all four officers implicated in his death. And we call for an end to attacks on journalists who are covering the protests. 

As UC Berkeley’s Human Rights Center, we remain committed to pursuing justice through science and law. To this end, we will continue to conduct research on racial health disparities and exploitation through our Health and Human Rights Program, with the aim of supporting the most marginalized youth in our communities. We have also created a Rapid Response Team composed of students and staff in our Human Rights Center Investigations Lab. The team will help journalists and human rights lawyers use open source investigation skills to identify and verify human rights abuses in the current crisis. 

As the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has just declared: “The voices calling for an end to the endemic and structural racism that blights US society need to be heard.”


Eric Stover                             Alexa Koenig
Faculty Director                    Executive Director