Northern Ireland: Amnesty welcomes announcement on overdue racial equality strategy

Amnesty International has welcomed the announcement from the Northern Ireland Executive that it will publish the long-delayed Racial Equality Strategy before Stormont's summer recess.

Junior Ministers Jennifer McCann and Jonathan Bell announced the development on the BBC Radio Ulster Talkback programme this afternoon.

Patrick Corrigan, Amnesty International’s Northern Ireland programme director, said:

“We welcome the announcement that the long-delayed Racial Equality Strategy will finally be published in draft form later this week.

“The Racial Equality Strategy is supposed to be the government’s master plan for combatting racism in Northern Ireland, yet it has been stalled since 2007. This lack of priority has been shameful during a period of increasing racist attacks in our society.

“Condemnations of racist attacks are welcome from every politician and every party. But politicians need to follow words with actions. Hopefully that is what we are now seeing.”

The Racial Equality Strategy was stalled in 2007 when the Northern Ireland parties rejected the ‘Shared Future’ blueprint tabled during a period of direct rule from London.

Minority ethnic groups have been lobbying for years for a new Racial Equality Strategy to be produced, but have been left waiting for the Stormont Executive to publish a full draft.

Amnesty International, the Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions are organising a major march against racism in Belfast this Saturday, leaving Writers’ Square in the city at 2pm. The organisers have called the march in response to a rise in racist attacks and to demand effective political leadership from the Northern Ireland Executive.

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