Racial Equality Consultation Event

12 Sep 2014     Last updated: 8 Oct 2014

NICVA held a consultation event on the new Racial Equality Strategy on the 11th September. Over 30 people from across the voluntary and community sector attended.

This event enabled people to learn more about the Racial Equality Strategy and share their thinking on how it will affect Northern Ireland as a whole.

The First Minister and deputy First Minister launched the new Racial Equality Strategy for consultation in August 2014. The proposals were developed with minority ethnic representative groups and representatives of the wider community through the Racial Equality Panel.

The Strategy aims to:

  • to tackle racial inequalities and to open up opportunity for all;
  • to eradicate racism and hate crime; and
  • along with Together: Building a United Community, to promote good race relations and social cohesion.

The provisional title for the Strategy is “A Sense of Belonging” and the document states that;

‘We want everyone – including people from minority ethnic backgrounds - to have a sense of belonging. And we want that “sense of belonging” to be acknowledged and valued by people from all backgrounds.’

This consultation succeeds the first Racial Equality Strategy for Northern Ireland which was endorsed by the Assembly in a debate on 3 July 2007.

Discussions at our consultation were focused by presentations from;

  • Ken Frasier- Race Equality Unit - OFMDFM
  • Helena MacCormac - NICEM
  • Paul Noonan - Equality Commission for Northern Ireland

The themes emerging from the discussions at the event highlighted the following;

  • Members welcomed the opportunity to discuss and respond to OFMDFM on an issue of such magnitude.
  • Members were concerned about the use of ‘a sense of belonging’ as it was identified that this title does not reflect the extent of institutional racism in Northern Ireland.
  • In addition, members voiced concerns around the lack of traction between the implementation of the strategy and funding streams for race based organisations in Northern Ireland.
  • Members were keen to stress the need for a tangible timeline for implementation which is accountable and time bound. Members noted the lengthy wait and many were keen to stress the need for action in 2014/2015.
  • Furthermore, members highlighted the need for the strategy to be sold as a benefit to all of Northern Ireland, in what is a diverse and multi cultural society in 2014.

The closing date for responses to the consultation is Friday, 10 October. We will be sharing information for people from across the sector to help inform their responses. If you have briefings, draft responses or research you would like to share with others or want to raise any points on the racial Equality Strategy please email [email protected].

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