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Government in breach of human rights obligations under key UN treaty aimed at eradicating racism, report warns

THE government is in breach of its human rights obligations under a key United Nations treaty aimed at eradicating racism, a new report warns.

Today’s paper from the Runnymede Trust found ministers had not met their obligations under the UN’s International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).

The British government is required to submit regular reports to the organisation’s racial discrimination committee, which monitors adherence to ICERD, but ministers have still not sent an update due in April 2020 after agreeing a Covid-19 extension, the charity said. 

The report, based on evidence from more than 100 civil society groups, also confirmed that racism was systemic in England and Tory legislation and institutional practices continue to harm black and minority ethnic (BME) groups. 

It follows a tide of racist abuse directed at Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka following England’s defeat in the Euro 2020 final against Italy on Sunday.

The study directly criticises widely condemned findings from the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities (Cred), which concluded in March that Britain was no longer a country where the “system is deliberately rigged” against ethnic minorities.

Labour, unions and campaigners slammed the conclusions from the commission led by Dr Tony Sewell as insulting and an attempt at state-sanctioned gaslighting.

Cred’s findings “misrepresent the scale and complexity of the issues” and starkly contrasts with evidence, the trust said.

Government policy may have worsened continuing disparities faced by BME people in the health and criminal justice systems, education, employment, immigration and politics since the trust’s last probe in 2016, the report says. 

The trust is particularly alarmed about the proposed policing Bill and the government’s hostile immigration policies, which “stand in clear breach of ICERD” and pose a significant threat to ethnic minority rights.

Trust chief executive Dr Halima Begum said BME people “continue to experience stark disproportionate outcomes in their life chances.

“From stop and search to inequalities in maternal health, lower levels of home ownership to constraints on pay and professional opportunities, this report [shows that] taking a colour-blind approach to equality will not be the most effective way to achieve social mobility.”

A government spokeswoman said ministers will be submitting their next ICERD update later this year and claimed the trust’s report “contains many errors and is too simplistic.”

Parliamentary reporter @TrinderMatt

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