Northern Ireland news

Increase in racist hate crime and school bullying sparks calls for Stormont intervention

Patrick Corrigan from Amnesty International has called for a robust response from Stormont to tackle racism

A rise in racist hate crimes has led to calls for urgent Stormont intervention.

Race-related bullying and harassment in schools has also surged, according to a report examining the progress of the Executive's 10-year racial equality strategy.

Human rights organisation Amnesty International said the findings lay bare the prejudice experienced by black and ethnic minorities in the north.

It reveals that 1,124 racially-motivated hate incidents and 699 racially-motivated hate crimes were reported to the PSNI in 2019, up from 976 and 688 in 2013/14.

Almost a third of respondents described themselves as racist, while 45 per cent of young people said they had witnessed racist bullying in their school.

Amnesty's director in the north, Patrick Corrigan, claimed the current strategy is failing to tackle "deep-seated racism" and more robust action is needed across Stormont departments to tackle the crisis, including long-awaited new hate crime legislation.

“The rising levels of racial prejudice should serve as a wake-up call to politicians and officials charged with making Northern Ireland a better and safer place to live for all," he said.

"Racism makes Northern Ireland a toxic place to live for too many people from minority ethnic and religious communities, whether manifested as playground bullying or arson attacks on homes and community centres.

"We need a more ambitious anti-racism strategy, with more commitment from across Stormont's government departments, to tackle racial prejudice.

"That must include improving anti-racism education, upgrading our race equality and hate crime laws, and an improvement on prosecution rates for those responsible for racially-motivated crimes."

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Northern Ireland news