The First and deputy First Minister must listen to the community sector and deliver a robust Draft Racial Equality Strategy, Alliance representatives have said.
OFMdFM Vice Chair Chris Lyttle and South Belfast MLA Anna Lo added Alliance will fight to ensure the strategy stays on the agenda and push for a realistic action plan to be included – as they welcomed the common platform submission from the umbrella group led by the Community Relations Council.
Chris Lyttle MLA said: “Northern Ireland is an ever changing society, but one disappointing change that has become all too common in recent months is the rise of race and hate motivated crimes. We cannot allow this to continue.
“It is unfortunate that it took the public to take to the streets for the First and deputy First Ministers to act on a strategy that was already long overdue, but I am glad this consultation is finally underway. Alliance has always been clear – the final version of the racial equality strategy must improve community relations, promote inclusivity and protect ethnic minorities.
“Led by the Community Relations Council, this common platform solution signals to OFMdFM that the community is not prepared to welcome a strategy that is nothing but robust. Alliance will ensure the Racial Equality Strategy stays firmly on the agenda.”
Anna Lo MLA added: “The Alliance Party believes Northern Ireland should be a society in which every individual’s rights, safety, welfare and security are guaranteed. The common platform submission sends a clear signal to OFMdFM that community groups won’t settle for a weak plan with no clear action plan to deliver real results
“Too many people are still falling victim to racially motivated attacks, but Alliance believes there is strong public support for removing the blight of racism in Northern Ireland. Everyone must be committed to moving forward in delivering a robust strategy that allows our diverse society to flourish.”