Civil Society report on the state of race and racism in England to the UN (CERD 2021)

Date
July 14, 2021
Organisation

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Where we are now: Civil Society report on the state of race and racism in England to the United Nations CERD, 2021

This report provides the independent civil society perspective to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) by examining the situation of race and racism in England.

The Runnymede Trust have acted as the curators of evidence submitted by a broad coalition of organisations, on the EHRC's procedural request to conduct an independent civil society review on the state’s progress on race and racism in England over the past 4 years. The report has been compiled with evidence from over 100 civil society organisations across the country and has been endorsed by 78 NGOs and race equality organisations. We received over 50 written submissions from institutions, CSOs, academics and other individuals in response to the call for evidence for this report.

This report provides a civil society perspective to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) by examining the situation of race and racism in England. It has been drafted by the Runnymede Trust, following consultation with over 100 civil society organisations (CSOs) working to promote race equality and human rights. We received over 50 written submissions from institutions, CSOs, academics and other individuals in response to the call for evidence for this report.

Our report shows that racism is systemic in England and impacts BME groups’ enjoyment of rights. Legislation, institutional practices and society’s customs continue to combine to harm BME groups. As a result, in England, BME groups are consistently more likely to live in poverty, to be in low-paid precarious work and to die of COVID-19. Disparities facing BME groups in England are sustained across the areas of health, housing, the criminal justice system, education, employment, immigration and political participation.

Background

The UK ratified the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) in 1969. By ratifying CERD, the UK agrees to take action to eliminate racial discrimination in all its forms, including:

● eradicating racial hatred and incitement to hatred ● taking action to combat prejudices which lead to racial discrimination ● guaranteeing the enjoyment of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights without discrimination on grounds of race, colour, or national or ethnic origin

The implementation of CERD is monitored by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Around every five years, the Committee reviews how well each state is putting into practice the rights in CERD. Around this time, civil society organisations in the UK set out a shadow report that sets out how the Government has implemented CERD, and what measures need to be taken. For more information on the different articles of the Convention please see page 2 of the publication produced collaboratively by the EHRC and Runnymede in 2016.

We received over 50 written submissions from Civil Society organisations in England, sharing their perspective on the state of race and racism in areas ranging from immigration to health. See their submissions here.

The implementation of CERD is monitored by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Around every five years, the Committee reviews how well each state is putting into practice the rights in CERD. Around this time, civil society organisations in the UK set out a shadow report that sets out how the Government has implemented CERD, and what measures need to be taken. For more information on the different articles of the Convention please see page 2 of the publication produced collaboratively by the EHRC and Runnymede in 2016, here.

Evidence

The Runnymede Trust sought evidence from civil society organisations, academics and institutions to shape the report. The shadow report is crucial to holding the Government to account for their legal obligations under CERD. The 2016 report benefited from wide engagement from organisations across England and made a significant impact in informing the work of the UN committee on eliminating racial discrimination.

In March 2021, individuals and organisations engaged with our written call for evidence and roundtables in England. In total, 122 individuals and organisations across England were consulted in our roundtables and 62 organisations and individuals provided written evidence.

We received written evidence from the following organisations:

Anti Caste Discrimination Alliance ATM (Anti Tribalism Movement) British Association of Social Workers (BASW) British Medical Association Children's Rights and Economic and Social Rights Dorset Race Equality Council End the Virus of Racism Equality Act Review Equity Family, Friends & Travellers From Paternalism to Human rights HS2 i have a voice (Justice For You Campaign) JCWI Just Fair KANLUNGAN Liberty Human Rights MEap Medact MEND Migrants Rights Network NAHT Newcastle University & Leed Becket University NEU NICRE No More Exclusions Protection Approaches PS John Grieve (London Metropolitan University) Race Found Release Resistance LAB RJ Working CIC Safety4Sisters, the International Community Organisation of Sunderland (ICOS), Connected Voice and Praxis (joint) The Bell Foundation The Children's Society The Democracy Club The Migration Observatory, University of Oxford Traveller Movement Queen Mary Global Policy Institute (Queen Mary University of London) UCET (Universities Council for the Education of Teachers) Unison Unity Project University of Birmingham University College London University of Manchester University of Newcastle Upon Tyne Universities UK University of Warwick Usdaw (Midlands Division) Women's Resource Centre

Individuals: Paula Dalby Peter Green Taslima Mirza Nazia Rehman Barbara Cohen Bruce Lloyd

Read the written evidence submissions here.