The Irish State is failing to sufficiently tackle racism and discrimination and to live up to its international human rights obligations in combatting racial discrimination, according to a new report from the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (“the Commission”) to the UN.
The comprehensive report assesses Ireland’s performance since 2011 on combatting racial discrimination, making over 150 recommendations for State action. The report is provided to UN experts to inform their questioning of Ireland in Geneva on December 2-3 on how the State is meeting its obligations under the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (UNCERD).
The Commission is calling for leadership across the political and public institutions of the State in proactively combatting racial discrimination and tackling issues that fuel its growth. The Commission sets out that the country has progressed as a diverse multi-ethnic and multi-national society. There has been considerable positive legal, policy and institutional developments, including the recognition of Traveller ethnicity, however there remain significant issues of concern.
The Commission has produced extensive research demonstrating consistent and significant levels of discrimination against minority ethnic groups in Ireland, as well as troubling attitudes to particular groups in society. Minority ethnic groups also face significant disadvantage across multiple arenas, including in access to labour, access to services, housing, education, and health. Travellers, Roma, and people of African descent experience significant barriers to accessing employment. Noting the announcement of plans to establish a new anti-racism committee to review and make recommendations on strengthening the government’s approach to combatting racism, the Commission recommends that the anti-racism committee’s work be grounded in human rights and equality standards. The Commission also recommends that the State should put in place a new national action plan against racism and adopt public awareness-raising and education measures to address discrimination and prejudice.
Examples of such discrimination and disadvantage, and specific recommendations to address them are referred to throughout the report. Some highlights:
Read more about the Commission’s process of developing the Report for the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD), as well as information on the upcoming hearing on Ireland here.