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Backgrounder: The world speaks out on Ferguson incident

BEIJING, Dec. 23 (Xinhua) -- The fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer in the Ferguson County in the U.S state of Missouri four months ago and enusing widespread protests drew mixed, particularly critical, reactions from the international community.

On Aug. 9, Michael Brown, 18, was fatally shot by officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, after he committed armed robbery at a convenience store. On Nov. 24, a grand jury decided not to indict Wilson, on the ground that he did not break the law when shooting Brown dead.

The developments stoked national outrage and protests against police violence and racial discrimination in the United States, and were criticized worldwide.


On Aug. 18, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for the protection of the rights of the demonstrators in light of the ongoing clashes between police and protesters.

Ban, through a UN spokesman, called on the U.S. authorities to "ensure that the rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression are protected."

"He calls on all to exercise restraint, for law enforcement officials to abide by U.S. and international standards in dealing with demonstrators," U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.


On Aug. 29, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) expressed grave concerns over the excessive use of force by law enforcement officials in the United States.

The Ferguson case "illustrates bigger problems in the United States such as racial bias among law enforcement officials, the lack of proper implementation of rules and regulations governing the use of force, and inadequacy of training of law enforcement officials," said Noureddine Amir, member of the committee.

"The United States should undertake concrete and comprehensive measures to address the root causes and avoid any future repetition of such tragic incidents," Amir said.


On Nov. 25, the UN human rights chief urged all protesters in the United States to avoid violence and destruction following the Ferguson shooting verdict, and urged the U.S. authorities to examine race-related issues in its law enforcement and justice systems.

"People have the right to express their dismay and their disagreement with the grand jury's verdict, but not to cause harm to others, or to their property, in the process," said Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, in a statement.

"I urge the U.S. authorities to conduct in-depth examinations into how race-related issues are affecting law enforcement and the administration of justice, both at the federal and state levels," he said.


On Nov. 25, when asked to comment on the grand jury's decision on the police shooting, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswomen Hua Chunying said "it belongs to U.S. internal affairs" and she would not comment on that.

"There is no such a thing as perfection when it comes to human rights record," Hua said. "On human rights issues, all countries should engage in dialogue, communication and cooperation."

"We should learn from each other to improve human rights record altogether, rather than pointing fingers at each other," she added.


On Nov. 26, Russia's Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said Moscow is concerned about the methods employed by the U.S. authorities in dealing with protests in Ferguson and other cities.

"Russia has been following reports about the unrest in the U.S. town of Ferguson, Missouri, with great concern," Lukashevich said, noting that the town has seen the deployment of National Guard troops and military equipment, with the police using special means against the demonstrators, including tear gas, arresting and detaining people indiscriminately.

"Such a large-scale explosion of public anger and the disproportionate response by the law enforcement is symptomatic of systematic flaws in U.S. democracy which has struggled to overcome deep racial divides, discrimination and inequality," the spokesman said.


On Aug. 19, Egypt urged the U.S. authorities to exercise self-restraint in dealing with protests in Ferguson, following clashes between security forces and demonstrators over the killing of Brown.

"The Egyptian Foreign Ministry is closely following the escalation in Ferguson and calls on the U.S. authorities to deal with the protesters in line with international standards," spokesman Badr Abdel-Aati said, echoing a U.N. call for restraint.


On Aug. 24, Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said the Ferguson violence was an example of American hypocrisy about human rights.

"Today like previous years, African-Americans are still under pressure, oppressed and subjected to discrimination," Khamenei wrote on a social media account.

"Racial discrimination is still a dilemma in the United States," he noted.

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