UN tells Irish State to do more to tackle racial discrimination
The Irish Government has had its knuckles rapped today (13.12.19) by the United Nations human rights anti-racism watchdog for not having the right structures in place to effectively challenge racism. On 2 and 3 December the Irish State was examined by the UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination to assess its activities in the area, and the Committee’s concluding observations were published today.
Brian Killoran, CEO, Immigrant Council of Ireland, said, “The UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination undertook a fair and thorough assessment and has identified key areas for improvement. These include the urgent need for an updated National Action Plan Against Racism as well as laws which will effectively tackle hate speech, hate crime and prohibit racial profiling.
“In making its observations, the Committee noted the ‘frequent incidents of racist hate speech made by politicians, especially during election campaigns’. While populist and anti-migrant sentiment thankfully remain on the fringes of our political discourse, the Immigrant Council would expect to see strong stances among political parties and groups to double down against hate speech as we expect our own general election in the coming months.”
Mr Killoran added, “It was also especially welcome to see recommendations to phase out direct provision, end the use of emergency accommodation, expand the right to work and deliver more timely decisions for those seeking international protection, echoing recommendations made by the Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Equality in their report on direct provision launched yesterday.
“As an organisation with an Independent Law Centre specialising in migrant rights we were particularly encouraged to see the call for the Irish State to introduce a stateless determination procedure to stop people falling into a legal abyss.
“The recognition that the Irish State must improve its treatment of trafficking victims by introducing an effective victim identification process and referral mechanism and ensuring their access to specialised support by putting it on a statutory footing was also welcome, again echoing previous recommendations to do so by our own High Court and regional bodies including the Council for Europe’s Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings.
“Ireland was told its collection of statistics on the ethnic composition of the country was ‘inconsistent’ and called for an improvement. Such data is necessary so the State can analyse how well minority groups are able to access education, employment, housing, healthcare, social welfare, etc, and identify and remedy any gaps or barriers.”
Notes for editors
- Read the UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination’s concluding observations on Ireland
- The Immigrant Council of Ireland’s CEO, Brian Killoran, attended the examination by the Committee in Geneva on 2 and 3 December.
- Read the Immigrant Council of Ireland's submission to UNCERD.
Pippa Woolnough, Communications & Advocacy Manager, Immigrant Council of Ireland, Tel: 085 8640682