“Reparations is what justice looks like in the 21st century,” Justin Hansford told a U.N. committee, in part.
The U.S. State Department under Biden named Hansford to the U.N.’s Permanent Forum on People of African Descent.
A critical race theory activist, Hansford is a law professor at the Washington, D.C.-based Howard University and executive director of the Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center there.
During a recent session of the PFPAD, Prof. Hansford, who received his law degree from Georgetown in D.C., also seemed to be advocating for exclusion rather than inclusion as part of the purported reparations-focused tribunal.
“But far we have left it to the scholars of the past, the lawyers of the past, the white scholars, the white lawyers, to determine the bounds of our legal imagination, to determine the narrow structures that we will use to determine what justice looks like for our own people,” he asserted.
“So I come to you today with a novel proposal, that we begin to think our own thoughts, propose our own vision of justice, and implement that justice, as part of the Permanent Forum on People of African Descent.”
He went to propose the creation of a new community of legal thinkers, including non-lawyers with a passion for racial justice “to discuss what it means to be prepared in 2023 for crimes that have been done to us and are continuing to be done to us for over 500 years.”
Without naming the U.S. in particular, the Biden appointee reasoned that this was an initial step for demanding that U.N.-member countries “start the process of apology and reparation, but not on their terms, but on our terms.”
“It is not clear what Professor Hansford meant when he suggested that a United Nations program for reparations should not only be crafted but ‘implemented’ by people of color,'” influential constitutional legal scholar Jonathan Turley, who teaches at George Washington University, also in D.C., wrote.
Turley added that the U.N. group “did not offer an opposing view on this [reparations] question, which is often the case on our campuses.”
A self-described liberal, Turley implied that Hansford’s call to action might be yet another form of hypocrisy within the international body.
“Now Professor Hansford is calling on the United Nations to order such payments by the United States. It is an interesting pitch to countries that were directly involved in the slave trade or enslaved other people in their own histories,” Turley wrote. “Reparations would appear to apply to many of the same countries and might be looked at with some skepticism and concern in their own capitals.”
At the outset of his remarks, Prof. Hansford asserted that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was an explicit believer in reparations.
He also seemed to be lamenting that the U.N. itself provided insufficient administrative support for the PFPAD session.
Some U.S. blue states, such as California, and various individual Democrat-controlled localities across the country, have established individual reparations study panels.
Prof. Hansford’s remarks offered some international legal precedents, including a 2005 U.N. General Assembly resolution addressing gross human rights violations, as to how the U.N. might presumably have the authority to order a national government to disburse taxpayer-funded reparations payouts or implement related programs.
Since much of what that U.N. concerns itself with is not legally binding, “it remains unclear whether a tribunal could do anything other than add some external pressure to buoy racial justice activists in the US,” the Daily Mail noted.