Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has spoken out about the need to reflect on racism in the UK and around the world in light of the death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers in the US. Mr Carmichael has introduced and backed parliamentary motions calling for the suspension of sales of weapons to US police following the death of Mr Floyd and highlighted the real impact that past campaigns on lethal injection drugs had on changing US policy.
Mr Carmichael said:
"Around the world people are rightly protesting the systemic racism that is the backdrop of the murder of George Floyd. Black Lives Matter and the UK Government should be leading the charge in calling out this grotesque injustice, and condemning the President's threat of military action against unarmed protesters.
"Given evidence of their use against unarmed protesters and journalists, UK Ministers must look to suspend the sale of tear gas, rubber bullets and other such equipment to the United States, in line with the Consolidated Criteria. Failure to do so will make the UK complicit in the repression of peaceful protest. This can be more than a gesture. I have previously worked with human rights organisations to get pharmaceutical companies to stop supplying drugs for use on death row. It resulted in some states stopping executions.
"A few years ago I visited Georgia in the USA with Amnesty International to campaign for Troy Davis, a black man then on death row and later executed. I saw for myself in that visit how black people continue to be marginalised in parts of the states, several decades after segregation was supposedly ended. It made a lasting impression on me. At home and abroad we must all reflect on how we can act against prejudice on both a personal and community level."