Alliance OFMDFM spokesperson, Chris Lyttle MLA, and South Belfast MLA, Anna Lo, have said that the draft Racial Equality Strategy will need to be drastically improved if it is to adequately address the level of racism in our society. Their comments were made as the Alliance Party response to the consultation was submitted. The consultation closes on Friday.
Alliance’s main concerns are;
- The document does not convey a strong sense of commitment to tackling racism;
- It is weaker than the previous Racial Equality Strategy which expired in 2010;
- There is a lack of up-to-date statistics;
- There is no clear timetable for implementation;
- There is no action plan for activities to address racism;
- The document fails to recognise the contribution which ethnic minorities make to the NI economy and cultural diversity;
Anna Lo MLA said: “After years of delays, I was glad to see OFMDFM finally publish a draft Racial Equality Strategy earlier this year, however, I have very serious concerns about the draft document. In its current form, it is not good enough -it must be drastically improved.
“There are very few details about the level of funding that will be made available to implement this strategy. If it is not adequately resourced then it will not achieve the objective of combating racism in our society. We must have a strategy that is robust enough to combat the recent spate of racist attacks that have taken place across Northern Ireland.”
Chris Lyttle MLA said: “The document is missing a clear timetable for the implementation of its objectives and has no action plan for activities to address racism, nor does it recognise the positive contribution made by many ethnic minorities to our society.
“The Common Platform submission from a number of groups sent a clear message to OFMDFM that community groups will not settle for a weak strategy with little information on funding or actions.
“I am sure that the First Minister and deputy First Minister will have received a large number of consultation responses highlighting similar concerns. It is vitally important that they take on board these comments and ensure that they produce a final document that will improve community relations, promote inclusivity and protect ethnic minorities.”