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Stormont accused of failing ethnic minorities as report reveals increase in racist attitudes in Northern Ireland

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People take part in a Black Lives Matter protest rally in Custom House Square, Belfast (Rebecca Black/PA)

People take part in a Black Lives Matter protest rally in Custom House Square, Belfast (Rebecca Black/PA)

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People take part in a Black Lives Matter protest rally in Custom House Square, Belfast (Rebecca Black/PA)

Stormont has been accused of failing ethnic minorities after a new report revealed an increase in racist attitudes.

The official figures were released to show progress on the Executive's Racial Equality Strategy for 2015-25.

Comparing baseline figures from 2014 to 2019, it showed that the number of respondents claiming they were prejudiced against people from ethnic minorities had increased significantly from 24% in 2014 to 29% in 2019.

Conversely, fewer people believed there was more racial prejudice - dropping from 52% in 2014 to 30% in 2019

In 2018/19 there were also 1,124 racially-motivated hate incidents and 699 racially-motivated hate crimes reported to the PSNI, an increase on 2013/14 figures of 976 and 688.

In 2019, 45% of young people said they had witnessed racist bullying or harassment in their school, up from 39% in 2014.

Patrick Corrigan from Amnesty International Northern Ireland said the figures should serve as a "wake-up call" that the Executive was failing black and ethnic minority communities.

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Patrick Yu

Patrick Yu

Patrick Yu

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"The fact that almost a third of the population describe themselves as racially prejudiced, almost half of young people have witnessed racist bullying in schools, and that these figures are rising not falling, suggests Stormont's racial equality strategy is failing," he said.

Geraldine McGahey, Chief Commissioner at the Equality Commission, welcomed the report but added: "It is a concern that almost one in three people reported that they were prejudiced against people from minority ethnic communities and that this has increased since previous surveys.

"It is important that there is full implementation of the Executive's Racial Equality Strategy and this should include a series of outcome-focused actions.

"We must all work together to eliminate racial discrimination and racial prejudice in Northern Ireland."

Patrick Yu, secretary for the Northern Ireland Council for Racial Equality, said he agreed that Stormont's Racial Equality Strategy was not delivering.

He cited previous concerns that more tickets were issued at Black Lives Matter protests in Northern Ireland compared with other events and that a review of the UK's anti-terror legislation showed the PSNI were stopping a disproportionate amount of minorities.


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