2021 – Our current work with the United Nations
2021 marks the start of the journey towards the next examination of government’s progress in implementing the United Nations International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD). Race Equality First (REF) has been funded by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to deliver the Joint NGO Shadow Report for Wales on Racial Inequality. Over the past five months, REF held nine consultations and with feedback from many civil society organisations and the CERD Steering Group for Wales, drafted the Shadow Report for Wales to be submitted to the UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) to inform their 2021-2022 review of the UK.
It is part of our job, as a race equality council, to monitor whether the Welsh and UK Governments are committed to promoting racial equality. We do this by measuring the extent to which the Welsh and UK Governments adhere to policies set out by the United Nations and European Union, and the extent to which the Welsh and UK Governments uphold UK equality legislation such as the Equality Act 2010 and Hate Crime legislation.
Race Equality First does this in partnership with other charities and non-governmental organisations, such as Runnymede Trust.
Our 2016 work with the UN:
Race Equality First’s CEO, Aliya Mohammed, travelled to Geneva in August 2016 with colleagues from Runnymede Trust and other race equality NGO’s to give evidence to the CERD committee about the UK Government’s commitment to racial equality.
CERD (Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination) is the United Nations body that monitors compliance by UN countries to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
After hearing evidence from Race Equality First, Runnymede Trust and other race equality organisations, the UN CERD committee concluded that there has been an outbreak of xenophobia and discrimination against ethnic minorities in the UK, particularly since the referendum campaign:
One of the CERD report’s concluding observations was that “Many politicians and prominent political figures not only failed to condemn it but also created and entrenched prejudices, thereby emboldening individuals to carry out acts of intimidation and hate towards ethnic or ethno-religious minority communities and people who are visibly different”.
Aliya Mohammed said, “As a race equality council, we have evidence that racial discrimination is still a significant barrier for ethnic minority people in the UK and we have witnessed a big increase in racial discrimination and hate incidents since the EU Referendum result. We’re pleased that our feedback was fully endorsed by the UN CERD committee report and we look forward to seeing the action that will be taken by the UK Government as a result of our recommendations.”
The EHRC supported the UN report and in response to the report, the UK Government conducted a Race Disparity Audit of all public services in the UK which was released on 10 October 2017. Race Equality First was asked to assist with the Race Disparity Audit by the Cabinet Office.
Our 2018 work with the UN:
Every five years, Race Equality First gives feedback to the United Nations Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on the commitment to racial equality in the UK.
Though we gave feedback in 2016, in 2018, the United Nations Special Rapporteur to the UK visited the UK due to issues of racism in the media around Brexit.
The Special Rapporteur, Ms. Tendayi Achiume, asked Race Equality First to host a round table discussion between herself and relevant partners in Cardiff to give feedback on issues around racism in Wales.
Our CEO completed a report which included our collective feedback and recommendations around issues of racism during the EU Referendum / Brexit; Health; Anti-Semitism; Islamophobia; Education and Employment. After hearing evidence from Race Equality First and our partners in Cardiff, Ms. Achiume went on to visit other race equality charities across the UK. Ms. Achiume concluded that there has been an outbreak of xenophobia and discrimination against ethnic minorities in the UK, particularly since the referendum campaign and her visit and report was widely publicised in the national news.