U.S. State Department invites U.N. racism investigators to visit U.S.

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Antony J. Blinken, of New York, speaks during his confirmation hearing to be Secretary of State before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, U.S. January 19, 2021. Graeme Jennings/Pool via REUTERS

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WASHINGTON, July 13 (Reuters) - The U.S. State Department has invited U.N. experts who investigate racism and minority issues to conduct an official visit to the United States, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Tuesday.

"Responsible nations must not shrink from scrutiny of their human rights record; rather, they should acknowledge it with the intent to improve," Blinken said in a statement.

"I urge all U.N. member states to join the United States in this effort, and confront the scourge of racism, racial discrimination, and xenophobia," he said.

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Blinken said the United States welcomed the U.N. Human Rights Council's adoption on Tuesday of a resolution to address systemic racism against Africans and people of African descent in the context of law enforcement.

The murder of a Black man, George Floyd, by a Minneapolis police officer last year sparked nationwide protests against racism and police brutality.

U.S. President Joe Biden, who won the White House with critical support from Black voters, made fighting racial inequality a key platform of his 2020 campaign.

Blinken said the invitation to the U.N. Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism and the U.N. Special Rapporteur on minority issues was the first step on a plan to issue a standing invitation to all U.N. experts who report on human rights issues.

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Reporting by Eric Beech; editing by Richard Pullin

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