8-member delegation from Northern Ireland makes oral submissions
25th August 2011: An eight-member delegation from Northern Ireland has made an oral statement to the UN Committee on Racial Discrimination in Geneva, calling for measures to tackle sharp increase in racial hate crime and the upsurge of the far right which is targeting new migrant communities
The delegation has also requested that the UK and the NI devolved government take the several actions on priority issues, including amending the outdated race law in NI, which has been lagging behind Great Britain since the Race Relations Amendment Act 2000 and introduce a Single Equality Bill for NI
It has also called for steps to tackle violence and human trafficking affecting women; and an end to slave-like working conditions of non-EU seafarers in the fishing industry.
It has also requested the Committee to address the discriminatory immigration rules recently introduced, which bar senior health care workers from non-EU countries, mainly Filipino and South Indian, from settling in the UK despite being issued with a 5-year work permit
The Committee has also been requested to address the appalling health and social wellbeing conditions in the Irish Travellers community, including the lack of adequate transit and service sites; and to reconsider the NI Human Rights Commission’s statement: "sectarianism is a form of racism" as we have strong reservations about this equation
The 18-member Committee’s hearing ended on Wednesday morning. The Rapporteur for the UK Report is expected to prepare his Conclusion Observations in early September before the Committee formally ends the 79th session.
Mr Patrick Yu, NICEM’s Executive Director stated that: " We thank the Committee and the Secretariat that are organising the NGO briefing to give us an opportunity to discuss the issues with you on racism and racial discrimination in Northern Ireland."
Ms Debbie Kohner, Equality Programme Officer with CAJ said: "It is important that the UN hears about the situation in Northern Ireland, which is often different to that in Great Britain. CAJ is ensuring that Northern Ireland, and its particular issues, are not overlooked. At the oral briefing, I highlighted the continued use of stop and search powers here, without sufficient safeguards against discriminatory use. I also drew attention to the low ethnic minority representation in the PSNI and the concerns surrounding the independence of the Office of the Police Ombudsman. This is an invaluable opportunity to shine the international spotlight on local ethnic minority issues."