Anti-Racism back on State agenda after more than 10 years
2019-07-01 13:39:23 -

New committee to support fight against discrimination


By Chinedu Onyejelem


The Government is to establish a new ‘Anti-Racism Committee’ to support the fight against racial discrimination across the country.


The new anti-racism programme comes more than a decade after Planning for Diversity, the National Action Plan Against Racism (NPAR) which ran for three years from 2005 to 2008 and was developed from commitments given by governments at the United Nations World Conference Against Racism in South Africa in 2001.


Announcing the establishment of the group, the Minister of State with responsibility for Equality, Immigration and Integration said one of its tasks would be to consider what more needs to be done by public sector organisations, as well as how to develop a clear understanding of racism and how to combat it.


Speaking upon the publication of the new Migrant Integration Strategy Progress Report, Minister David Stanton said: “Racism affects many people living in Ireland. Research shows people of non-white ethnicities experience higher levels of discrimination than other groups when looking for work, in the workplace, and when accessing services from both public and private service providers.


“This persists despite strong legal protections in Ireland against racial discrimination. The new Anti-Racism Committee will review and make recommendations on strengthening the Government’s approach to combating racism, building on the actions currently included in the Migrant Integration Strategy.”


The minister said the committee’s work will be in two strands: a public sector strand to allow for more in-depth discussions of what needs to be done by public organisations and how it can be done; and an expert strand that will consider how to develop a clear understanding of racism, where it occurs, and what can be done to combat it, drawing on international experience.


Members of the new committee will be announced before the end of the year and will include stakeholders from all fields who would be charged “to assess the latest evidence and to identify the views of wider civil society, the business sector, media and other relevant parties. The Committee will also help to generate ideas for reducing racist abuse in the public sphere”, according to a statement from the Department of Justice.


Meanwhile, the Strategy Committee on the Migrant Integration Strategy 2017-2020, led by Minister Stanton, stated in its report to Government that “while the progress report highlights a number of successes, including up to €15m granted in Integration Funding Programmes … the report also helps identify areas where efforts need to intensify in the months ahead.


“As a result, actions will now be developed to particularly address areas where outcomes for migrants need to be improved. These areas are combatting racism; employment; English language acquisition; and the promotion of integration at the local level.”

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