UK government is in breach of UN convention on discrimination due to ‘systemic racism’ – report
Written by Hit Music Radio News on 13/07/2021
The UK government is breaching several articles of a UN convention on racial discrimination, a report has claimed.
According to research by the Runnymede Trust, racism is still “systemic” in England and legislation, institutional practices and customs are harming ethnic minority groups.
It says that people from ethnically diverse backgrounds still face inequalities across health, the criminal justice system, education, employment, immigration and politics.
Describing the recent Sewell report on racism in Britain as “divisive and dishonest”, it also claims the government’s new approach to equality “may in fact worsen” outcomes for minority communities.
It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Home Secretary Priti Patel and Prince William were forced to condemn racist abuse of footballers Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho after they missed penalties in England’s Euro 2020 final against Italy on Sunday.
Mr Johnson described it as “appalling abuse” and said those responsible “should be ashamed of themselves”, while Ms Patel said she was “disgusted”.
But fellow player Tyrone Mings responded by accusing the pair of hypocrisy in light of their refusal to condemn fans booing the team for “taking the knee” against racism before the Euros.
“You don’t get to stoke the fire at the beginning of the tournament by labelling our anti-racism message as ‘Gesture Politics’ & then pretend to be disgusted when the very thing we’re campaigning against, happens,” he wrote on Twitter on Monday.
The report, which used evidence from more than 100 civil society groups, found Ms Patel’s Police Crime and Sentencing Bill “particularly alarming” in terms of immigration.
It will make it easier for police to deport immigrants for minor offences and increase stop and search powers, which are disproportionately used on ethnically diverse communities.
They say this “stands in clear breach” of the UN International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).
The UK government is required to submit regular reports to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, to make sure it is adhering to the treaty.
These are accompanied by shadow reports from organisations such as the Runnymede Trust to help the UN with its findings.
But the government one due in April 2020 was not submitted due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Runnymede report cited a rise in hate crime and the disproportionate effect of COVID-19 on ethnic minority communities as examples of government failings on race.
It claimed inequalities are worse now than they were when the previous shadow report was submitted in 2016.
Researchers also rubbished the findings of the Sewell report, which claimed there is no institutional racism in Britain and that the “system is not deliberately rigged against ethnic minorities”.
They said those findings “misrepresent the scale and complexity of the issues”.
Instead the shadow report recommends getting tougher action from social media companies on online abuse and better facilities for reporting and recording hate crimes.
Dr Halima Begum, chief executive of the Runnymede Trust, said some progress had been made, including efforts to address the Windrush scandal and to tackle vaccine hesitancy.
But she said: “From stop and search to inequalities in maternal health, lower levels of home ownership to constraints on pay and professional opportunities, this report provides further evidence that taking a colour blind approach to equality will not be the most effective way to achieve social mobility.”
Lord Simon Woolley, a former government adviser on race and director of Operation Black Vote said: “The divisive and dishonest Sewell report into race inequality represents the biggest lost opportunity to effectively tackle systemic racism in the UK.
“This shadow report, in sharp contrast, offers a number of strategic recommendations which together present a sorely needed comprehensive race equality strategy fit for the 21st century.”
The government has been contacted for comment.
© Sky News 2020