The United Nations Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, Prof. E. Tendayi Achiume, has undertaken an official country visit to the UK between 30th April and 11th May 2018 at the invitation of the Government. Prof.Achiume, with the support of Black South West Network, held a joint Civil Society Meeting in Bristol on 4th May 2018 at the Phoenix Social Enterprise after meeting with Deputy Mayor Asher Craig and local Councillors.
The Special Rapporteur invited interested stakeholders, including civil society organisations and community members/representatives, to a joint consultation aimed at gathering information on the various issues falling within her mandate. She had been impressed on her visit to Bristol by the presence of many powerful and influential BAME women. She was interested in hearing the effect that the Brexit vote had had on racism and xenophobia, and expressed the hope that many more organisations would submit written evidence during the next few months so that she got a full picture of issues which were troubling people in the area of racism and community cohesion.
The main themes that arose from the discussion were:
1. Brexit and its impact
- steep rise (29%) in Hate Crime after the Brexit vote
- impact particularly severe on EU migrants from Central and Eastern Europe
2. Systemic discrimination in Education
- lack of BAME teachers and academics (due to lack of fair recruitment and disadvantage faced by BAME communities in obtaining education)
- disproportionate exclusion of black pupils from schools
- racial stereotyping of black students used as a means of down-grading their academic work
- the problematic Prevent strategy
3. Criminal Justice System (CJS) and Police
- improper enforcement of the legislation aimed to prevent discrimination
- disproportionate representation of BAME community members in the CJS
- police stigmatisation and stereotyping of certain BAME communities
- lack of access to justice for BAME people
4. Portrayal of Muslim community in media
- stigmatisation of all Muslim men as patriarchal and misogynistic
- portrayal of Islam as illiberal and oppressive
- portrayal of Muslim women as victims in need of saving by Western society
To read the full meeting minutes, please find them attached here.
To read the End of Mission Statement of the Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance at the Conclusion of Her Mission to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, please see here.