Green MLA backs call for more robust racial equality strategy

North Down Green MLA Steven Agnew is backing a call by civic groups which support ethnic communities for a more robust Racial Equality Strategy.

Twenty-three community groups and civic organisations came together at Stormont today to launch the Common Platform paper in response to OFMDFM’s recently published draft Racial Equality Strategy.

“This document highlights agreed shared themes and principles that organisations engaged in valuable community support work believe are critical to the successful implementation of the Racial Equality Strategy,” Mr Agnew said.

“As they are the people and organisations on the frontline and working directly with our ethnic communities, I believe they are best placed to know what is needed to deliver an effective and meaningful equality strategy.

“The current draft Racial Equality Strategy does not yet meet those expectations and so civic groups have come together with a united, vocal and powerful civic voice to highlight where the document falls short of expectations.

“These groups want to work with in partnership with government and they are demanding actions and not just words. They want to see real commitment to evidence-based actions and properly funded projects put in place.

“Northern Ireland is a society in transition and given the recent rise of racially-motivated attacks, a robust and realistic Racial Equality Strategy, is essential and long overdue.

“Such a strategy will be a major step on the road to greater racial equality and will help create a society in Northern Ireland which is fairer and safer for all.

“However, in its current form, the draft Racial Equality Strategy lacks ambition and is not based on a comprehensive, evidence-based and robust action plan.

“If we want to seriously tackle the scourge of racism, then we must tackle it all levels, especially at the political level as this will create a proper framework for a diverse and inclusive society which will be to the benefit of all.”

9 September 2014

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