New Europeans UK welcomes the response of the Runnymede Trust, trade unions, MPs, and campaigners to the Report of the Government’s Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities.
We cannot allow this report to shut down the important and difficult conversations called for by community leaders over many years and which came to a head after the murder of George Floyd and the BLM protests in 2020.
We are disappointed that the report denies the existence of institutionalised racism, as identified by the Macpherson Report into the murder of Stephen Lawrence and acknowledged by many subsequent government reports.
We share the view expressed by Frances Grady of the TUC that the report is dismissive of the experiences of black and minority ethnic people, many of whom are EU citizens. These experiences speak to the lived reality of institutionalised racism in Britain today.
We also know that black, Asian and ethic minority communities feel let down by the deliberate creation of a hostile environment, and the irresponsible exploitation of immigration as an election issue. They are not using the term ‘institutional racism’ as an excuse.
We observe that disproportionate mortality rates across black, Asian and ethnic minority communities during the COVID pandemic, especially amongst healthcare workers, points to the lethal impact of structural racism and that this is the subject of ongoing research.
We regret that the report does not seem to speak to the needs of the many vulnerable individuals and at risk communities we seek to empower through our work with EU citizens in the UK. Many Europeans in the UK are Black, Asian, Jewish, Muslims, Roma. Their lived experience makes clear that institutional racism does exist.
We note that the rights of individuals in Northern Ireland regarding racial discrimination and harassment are not highlighted in the report, despite submissions from this part of the UK.
Eileen Chan-Hu, a Trustee of New Europeans UK and a former Equality Commissioner in Northern Ireland said:
“The failure to recognise institutional racism does not encourage transformative change or even good practice – a statutory obligation in NI under Section 75 of the NI Agreement.”
Roger Casale, CEO of New Europeans UK commented:
“COVID-19 teaches us the equal value of every human life. We all need to show that black lives matter. The government has missed an opportunity with this report. It will be up to citizens to change the narrative.”