Mr Leonard, the party’s acting General Secretary, said: “Today’s anti-racism statement by the South Belfast Roundtable on Racism commits roundtable members like myself to help build communities where everyone can feel safe, regardless of ethnic origin through promoting zero tolerance of racism and challenging racist attitudes.
“This is not just a challenge for roundtable members, but for us all. There is a lot of hot air talked about the subject, but few are prepared to tackle directly the segregation which feeds both sectarian and racist attitudes.
“It is very timely that this anti-racism statement has been launched. It coincides with the launch of the Government’s implementation plan for its Racial Equality Strategy.
“Addressing the plight and circumstances of ethnic minorities has been long overdue. Just like the scourge of sectarianism, ignoring the problem doesn’t make it go away.
“The lobbying efforts of the Alliance Party were instrumental in getting the already existing Race Relations Act of Great Britain applied to Northern Ireland. On behalf of Alliance, I will continue to do all I can to ensure that members of ethnic minorities have their concerns dealt with, and to provide the necessary support for their integration into our society. This is a desire that they have repeatedly and explicitly expressed themselves.
“The onus is on the rest of us to ensure that this happens. As the former black American governor of Georgia has explained: ‘Only when we achieve equality for those from ethnic minorities will we truly be able to cherish our diverse society.'”