PRESS RELEASE: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PRESS RELEASE: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
7TH SEPTEMBER 2011

Equanomics UK calls on the Coalition Government to develop a clear timetable for addressing the concerns and recommendations of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

Equanomics UK welcomes the “Concluding Observations of the UK 18th – 20th Periodical Report” of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination’s (CERD). The concluding observations, issued on 1 September 2011, outline the UK’s failures in addressing racial equality and call on the Government to address its failings as a matter of urgency.

The UK NGOs Against Racism delegation, co-ordinated by the Runnymede Trust, consulted with over 100 NGOs across the UK to produce a report for CERD. As part of this delegation, Karen Chouhan, Board Director of Equanomics UK, gave evidence to the CERD in Geneva, focusing on issues of poverty, unemployment and education and how they affect Black and Minority Ethnic Communities. According to Karen Chouhan:

“The UN Committee has reinforced UK NGOs’ concerns that the UK Government needs to do far more to address unemployment levels, poverty and issues in education, which mean that Black and minority communities are particularly disadvantaged. CERD accepted NGOs’ evidence of the need for urgent action to avoid an increase in racial discrimination and disadvantage.”

“The Runnymede Trust co-ordinated the production of a detailed report, based on consultations with over 100 NGOs, which was presented to the UN Committee. The report was critical of, and challenged many of the claims made by, the Coalition Government about its commitment to race equality. We are very pleased that so many NGOs were involved. We now look forward to continuing collaboration with the organisations that contributed to the NGO submission and to working with the Equality and Human Rights Commission to press the government to take the actions identified by CERD.”

Equanomics UK welcomes all of the CERD concluding observations. As our work focuses primarily on issues of poverty, unemployment and education, we wish to highlight the following concerns and recommendations of the UN Committee:

Employment (paragraph 25)
The Committee recommends that the State party intensify its efforts to narrow the employment gap for ethnic minorities. The Committee therefore recommends that the State party prepare a detailed delivery plan of how it will further narrow the ethnic minority employment gap in all areas and at all levels of employment.

School exclusion of Black Pupils (paragraph 24)
The Committee recommends that the State party adopt an intensified approach towards preventing exclusion of Black pupils and set out in detail its plans for addressing under-achievement for those groups which have been identified as most affected, notably Gypsy and Traveller children and Afro-Caribbeans.

The Localism Bill (paragraph 14)
The Committee notes the Localism Bill currently before Parliament. The Committee is concerned about the enhanced decision-making powers devolved to the local level, including with regard to allocation of resources for special measures in the field of education and some planning measures relevant to minority ethnic groups, and their potential negative impact on groups vulnerable to racial discrimination. The Committee recommends that the State party ensure that procedures for enhanced local decision-making contribute to addressing racial discrimination, and that groups vulnerable to racial discrimination are involved in their design, implementation and monitoring. The Committee also recommends that every effort be made to ensure consistency in measures to support implementation of the Convention throughout the State party, including by its various local authorities.

The riots (paragraph 9)
The Committee recommends that the State party thoroughly investigate the
underlying causes of the riots and acts of vandalism, and that it provide the
Committee with information on the outcome of its investigations as soon as possible. The Committee urges the State party to ensure that in the process of investigation and prosecution of the riot-related cases, the rule of law is strictly adhered to and applied with due process in an even-handed way. The State party should ensure that any policy responses are forward-looking and promote ethnic equality and cohesion in the State party.

The Equality Act 2010 (paragraph 13)
The committee recommends that the State party should implement all of the provisions of the Equality Act and ensure that there is no regression from the current levels of protection. Notwithstanding the economic downturn, the State party should ensure that any austerity measures do not exacerbate the problem of racial discrimination and inequality. Impact assessments are necessary before adopting such measures to ensure that they are not differentially targeted or discriminatory to those vulnerable to racial discrimination.

Race Equality Strategy (paragraph 17)
The Committee recommends that the State party develop and adopt a detailed action plan, with targets and monitoring procedures, in consultation with minority and ethnic groups, for tackling race inequality as an integral part of the Equality Strategy, or separately provide an action plan for an effective race equality strategy.

Stop and Search (paragraph 18)
The Committee urges the State party to review the impact of “stop and search” powers on ethnic minority groups under various pieces of legislation in the State party. It recommends that the State party ensure that all stops are properly recorded, whether or not leading to searches, and that a copy of the record is provided to the person concerned for all such incidents in order to safeguard the rights of the people subject to these laws and to check possible abuse. The Committee requests the State party to provide in its next periodic report detailed statistical data disaggregated by ethnicity and community origin on the use of stop and search powers and its effectiveness in crime prevention.

Media (paragraph 11)
The Committee recommends that the State party closely monitor the media with a view to combating prejudices and negative stereotypes, the unchecked expression of which may result in racial discrimination or incitement to racial hatred. The State party should adopt all necessary measures to combat racist media coverage and ensure that such cases are thoroughly investigated and, where appropriate, sanctions are imposed.

Attached is a copy of both the full UN CERD recommendations and the NGOs’ report to the Committee. For further information please contact:

Karen Chouhan: 07903 581968

Equanomics UK is a Non-Government Voluntary Sector Organisation
http://equanomicsuk.org/

ATTACHMENTS:
UK NGO’s Against Racism CERD Report
Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination: Advance Unedited Version

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~ by jonathanure on September 7, 2011.

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