Opinion

Will Floyd's Death Pave the Way for International Law Enforcement?

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Posted: Jul 20, 2020 12:47 PM
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Will Floyd's Death Pave the Way for International Law Enforcement?

Source: AP Photo/Jerome Delay File

An intriguing twist in the tragic George Floyd story occurred in early June when George Floyd’s family members and their lawyer, Ben Crump, officially appealed to the United Nations for help. 

Crump claimed the federal government of the United States has consistently failed to protect the human rights of black people and that, therefore, a higher authority must be brought to bear. He said, “When a group of people of any nation have been systemically deprived of their universal human right to life by its government for decades, it must appeal to the international community for its support and to the United Nations for its intervention.”

Calling on the UN to intervene—which implies that the U.S. government is unfit to address or redress crimes committed on its own soil—is a bold move. While it isn’t unprecedented for international bodies to assist in addressing human rights violations committed by vigilante regimes, dictators, illegitimate tyrants, and warring factions, invoking international action in this case is extreme and it seems calculated to do three things: 1) Suggest incompetence and impotence on the part of the United States federal government, 2) Frame the United Nations as a higher, more legitimate governing body than the United States of America, and 3) Invite the United Nations to “intervene” in U.S. law enforcement dealings. This is a dangerous path to be on, especially at the very moment when internal forces are seeking to gut U.S. law enforcement systems of their potency.

The writing on the wall is becoming clear: Abolishing local law enforcement will pave the way for international law enforcement. So, at some future time, will we end up with UN troops in light blue uniforms patrolling U.S. streets? And if so, should we expect to see fewer human rights violations committed by UN peacekeeping troops than by U.S. law enforcement officers?

Anthony Banbury, former UN assistant secretary general, has become disenchanted with the UN system and his most serious complaint is “the persistent pattern of rape and abuse” committed by UN peacekeeping troops and the insufficient UN response to it. Similarly, former UN investigator Peter Gallo says of some UN personnel, “They’re paid enormous salaries for what they do and they’re comfortable in their immunity, knowing they won’t be caught.” Another former UN official associated with HearTheirCries.org says UN personnel “prey on children with alarming regularity.” 

Here is a sampling of human rights offenses involving sexual crimes UN peacekeepers have committed against those they were supposed to be protecting:

·134 UN peacekeepers from Sri Lanka were accused of sexually abusing nine children in a sex ring from 2004 to 2007.  Officers reportedly required sex in exchange for food or money. One boy said he had sex with more than 20 peacekeepers. Another boy reported having sex with more than 100 peacekeepers, averaging about four a day over the course of three years.

·A series of “food-for-sex” scandals erupted in the early 2000s when UN peacekeepers in Liberia were accused of selling food for sex from starving girls as young as eight. 

·In April of 2017 news broke of another UN child sex ring. Reports said criminal sexual activity impacting at least 23 countries had been discovered, and that “U.N. missions during the past 12 years found nearly 2,000 allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation by peacekeepers and other personnel around the world…More than 300 of the allegations involved children.” 

In 2017, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres admitted, “(S)exual exploitation and abuse is not a problem of peacekeeping, it is a problem of the entire United Nations.” To his credit, he then spoke against sexual exploitation and outlined a strategy for combatting it. Unfortunately, critics point out that for at least twenty years the leadership of the UN has known that child rape and other sexual offenses were being committed and have failed to act effectively against it. Specifically, there has been no commitment to permanently waive immunity for sex crimes against children or to grant outside entities the power to criminally charge UN staff or peacekeepers for crimes involving children. 

The irony here is palpable. Two of the very things the Floyd family and Mr. Crumb petitioned the United Nations to do was to assist in putting an “end to the doctrine of qualified immunity,” and establishing “an independent commission to review, investigate, prosecute” serious offenses involving officers. These are the very things the UN itself has historically failed to do to curb the egregious sexual abuse of children by its own members and partners.

It is likely the grieving Floyd family did not come up with the idea to petition the United Nations to intervene all by themselves. It is likely that their grief and the grief of our entire nation has been hijacked in order to undermine the legitimacy of the U.S. government and point all eyes toward the United Nations for deliverance.

We must realize that eviscerating our own police force will create a vacuum of power that the United Nations will be more than happy to fill. We must strengthen our law enforcement systems, even as we seek to purge them of officers who—like the one who killed George Floyd—are unfit to serve. It is a dangerous prospect to replace a largely functional system of law enforcement—over which we have legal control—with a more corrupt body of “peacekeeping” entities over which we have no control.

Kimberly Ells is the author of The Invincible Family: Why the Global Campaign to Crush Motherhood and Fatherhood Can’t Win which exposes UN agencies’ widespread promotion of sexual rights for children.