We are very excited to share our new report being launched today at City Hall Belfast. The report on Inequalities Experienced by Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and Traveller Residents of Belfast, was commissioned by Belfast City Council with Belfast Health and Social Care Trust and the Public Health Agency NI. It is the first Council commissioned report of its kind in Belfast. Our research partners are ACSONI and POLCA.
The research interviews were conducted in English, Arabic, Polish, Romanian, Cantonese and other native languages by a team of peer researchers from minority ethnic and migrant communities in Belfast.
The Executive Summary will be available on the Council website today in multiple languages. The full report PDF will be shared online by research partners and also available on request by email from the Council.
A new Know Your Rights guide for international protection applicants has been published by ICCL and the Irish Refugee Council.
The Know Your Rights Guide for International Protection Applicants offers a comprehensive guide to the application process and rights while in Ireland, including in work, education, voting, protection from crime and access to supports.
The Guide also emphasises the fundamental freedoms that all humans have, and how they are protected in Irish law. This includes civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights such as the right to protest, freedom of expression, freedom of religion and the right not to be subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment.
The Guide outlines the current law in a clear and accessible manner to empower international protection applicants to both exercise and vindicate their rights.
The Guide was authored by Dr Niloufar Omidi and Dr Lucy Michael with assistance from Roos Demol, Doireann Ansbro and Sinead Nolan at the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL), Nick Henderson, Katie Mannion and Alan O’Leary at the Irish Refugee Council (IRC), and Claire O’Riordan and Elizabeth O’Shea at the National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA).
This guide was funded by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC).
Special thanks to protection applicants
Special thanks are due to the international protection applicants who gave their time to take part in the feedback groups about this guide. Their thoughtful responses to questions and their discussions helped make this guide as useful as possible. Many thanks also to Zoe Phiri for her assistance in organising these feedback groups with international protection applicants. Thanks to case-workers, advisors and others Many thanks also to the case-workers and advisors at the following non-governmental organisations who provided invaluable advice and assistance: Doras, Crosscare, Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (MASI), Jesuit Refugee Service (JRC), New Communities Partnership (NCP) and Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI).
Today saw the Coalition for Hate Crime launch of the new campaign #HateCrimesHurtUsAll with incredible speakers talking about personal and community experiences of hate and the ripple effects of hate crimes – harm on an individual, community, and societal level.
The Coalition Against Hate Crime Ireland is a civil society coalition whose Members represent groups commonly targeted by hate crimes, including minority ethnic groups, LGBTQI communities, disabled people, and others, as well as academics and researchers working to advance the aims and objectives of the Coalition. @ICCL is the current chair of the Coalition.
The objective of the Coalition is to promote meaningful reform of the law, policy and practice as it relates to hate crime in Ireland including, but not limited to:
hate crime legislation; improving data collection in the reporting and recording of hate crime and hate incidents; education; training and awareness raising activities; hate speech; cyber hate crime; supporting victims of hate crime and assuring effective implementation of the Victims Directive.
The campaign is now online https://www.iccl.ie/news/standbyme-2/ #HateCrimesHurtUsAll
Speaking at the launch, Lucy addressed the issue of societal impact.
“Hate crime impacts are felt by people who share some element of identity with the targeted person and those who have a relationship with them – that can include a very large number of people in any community.
Hate crimes are message crimes. They are committed in order to send a message. They send a message to key groups to be fearful, and to accept a lower status in society, and that message reverberates loudly through the communities around those with a targeted identity. Hate crime isolates.
As Pradeep said, the effects on the victim are long term. So are the same effects on our society. People often imagine a divided society beginning with political statements. But divided societies begin with unsafety.
I’m only standing here because it’s been my privilege to work with a wide variety of groups experiencing hate crime and discrimination. Thank you to the INAR for allowing me to do that with you and the Coalition for allowing me to contribute on that basis. In 8 years of doing media work around INARs data on racist hate crime, we have always been struck that there has been much more interest by the media in single stories than in the expertise that minority groups develop around patterns of hate. We have had to work hard to amplify that. We have much, as a society, to learn from those who experience hate. As Ailsa and Martin both said, too often, people experiencing hate crime are let down by police and other institutions who deny its very existence. The constant fear that it will happen again tomorrow is the most significant impact of hate crime.
The impact of hate crime on the wider community is intended, not accidental. Hate crimes send the message that selected persons are not entitled to live their lives peacefully and with dignity in our society, and that they are lesser than an imagined majority in the society. They make invisible the commonalities we have with one another, and instead highlight selected differences, whether those be gender, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, disability, age, or religion.
They mark out selected identities for victimisation, poor treatment, less empathy, exclusion, and blame for their experiences of hate and exclusion. Hate crimes divide societies, communities and networks at every level. That’s why it’s important to take account of the very serious impact they have on an individual, but also our society at large.
Legislation sends a counter message. It sets out that all belong equally, all deserve dignity and safety. Our children, our neighbours, our work colleagues, everyone who lives in and is part of our communities, is protected by the law and should feel it’s protection.
Hate crimes often target one – one person, one venue, one family, one house, but hurt us all.”
Today sees the launch of the Higher Education Authority Race Equality in the Higher Education Sector Implementation Plan 2022-2024. Lucy will be speaking about the work we did on the national survey of Race Equality in the Higher Education Sector and how our report informed recommendations.
We found: More than one-third (35%) of minority ethnic third-level education staff say they have been subjected to racial or ethnic discrimination on campus. Less than half of minority ethnic staff are on full-time contracts, compared to 38% of white Irish and 25% white other not on full time contracts. Just over 17% of minority ethnic staff earn over €75,000, compared to 38% of white Irish and 25% of white other Some 71% said they feel they are treated equally by their colleagues, irrespective of their background 69% said they are treated equally by students, irrespective of their background Few white staff have reported experiencing racial or ethnic discrimination, but all groups reported witnessing racial or ethnic discrimination against minority ethnic staff More than half of respondents (52%) said they had never seen or heard the use of racist language on campus or online, while 27% said they rarely have seen such instances. However, staff across all ethnic groups described witnessing racial or ethnic discrimination against ethnic minority staff.
We made recommendations in 8 key areas:
Leadership Supporting Diversity in Staffing Making Race/Equality Policies Transparent Reporting Mechanisms Awareness and Training Fostering Diversity in HEIs Supporting Diversity in Student Recruitment Data Collection
We look forward to seeing how those are implemented from today.
Notes from a speech by Dr Lucy Michael to Fingal Integration Forum Balbriggan Diversity Awareness Event, 18 May 2022
In my speech at Fingal Integration Forum about building Inclusive community, I spoke about the need for local community groups to hold public bodies to account, not just in formal mechanisms, but through local engaged and responsive framing of key issues:
1. To keep public bodies deeply and keenly engaged with our communities, who they serve
2. Not to wait for consultation on the terms of the public body, but to prompt consultation on the needs of the people
3. to keep the local community appraised and informed of key issues and how they can respond effectively as individuals and groups
4. To track and complain about inequality & injustice in a robust way
5. To educate on & highlight different experiences of public services
6. To provide a safe intermediary space for residents to discuss issues of unequal service or blocked access to services, for collective action (where individuals feel too vulnerable to complain with their own names)
7. To frame issues of inequality in public services as issues which are legitimate points of collective discussion by and within the whole community, not only the subject of individual complaints mechanisms, which can isolate and burden those most at risk.
The point is to “Trouble the comfortable, and comfort the troubled” (quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer), and in this case, the comfortable are those in public services who see no urgency in addressing real community concerns unless they are packaged “just right”. Our challenge, as communities, is to make it inescapable that (a) public bodies see those issues through the eyes of the most affected by harmful/denied public services and (b) they account to the public they serve for harmful/denied services
As the public, we want to remove both (1) the burden which complaints mechanisms put on affected individuals, who are often multiply marginalised already and (2) push public bodies to be proactive, not reactive, to issues of inequality we raise. These things are crucial to building an inclusive community, because local community integration projects will never rebalance the power of structural racism to exclude and divide communities, through harmful/denied service in education, health, policing, welfare, planning, etc.
To “comfort the troubled”, we need local efforts which centre justice, inclusion and repair, accountability for harm and denial of public service, and share a vision of public service which really serves the public. What do I mean by harmful or denied public service? Denied accommodation needs, denied welfare needs, denied access needs, school and police discrimination that leads to punishment and exclusion, denied healthcare, harmful public spaces or service access routes.
Ireland has an anti-discrimination infrastructure which the Minister last week described as excellent. But it is accessible to only a proportion of those who need it because it centres formal complaint, lengthy legal process, and promotes imbalance between the injured party and injurer. Public services are not subject to that Equality mechanism either (major issue 🚩). Neither is the Public Sector Equality and Human Rights Duty actionable by any individual against a public sector body. So relying on affected individuals to (a) name themselves and assume more vulnerability and (b) access and navigate difficult complaints systems, is not a path to equal service for all by public services.
That’s where community action comes back in. Local groups don’t have to be huge, but they should be well networked. Like public bodies, it’s okay to have a specialism. But many local groups addressing injustice and inequality often find themselves battling on all fronts. Because the same group of people are affected, and public bodies (and even specialist local orgs) often don’t want to confront how their services interact with others to create forms of multiple and interconnected exclusions that divide community. By keeping the focus on the individual, blame is kept there too, and it’s up to the individual to “prove” discrimination. That’s not how this should work at all.
If we take seriously the concept of systemic racism, which reminds us that racism was part of the social system which created all of these public services, we should be reminded that the “public” is by default a homogeneous or limited set of groups. And in turn, they are often set up as more or less deserving service users, and that’s built in to practices and policies of our public services. We have to act in unison and with rigour to change that.
Inclusive community projects need spaces to help us get to know one another and reduce isolation, and mechanisms to reduce exclusion, but to be sustainable, our work must address the collective experiences and institutional practices which reproduce these harms.
The Centre for Human Rights and Citizenship Education, DCU Institute of Education, is delighted to invite you to the fourth annual ‘Brian Ruane Lecture on Human Rights and Human Rights Education’ to be held on Thursday, 9th December, 2021 at 6pm. This year’s lecture, Policy windows or open doors? How does anti-racism get into education?, will be given by Dr Lucy Michael.
While education is often espoused as a solution to racism, efforts to create anti-racist education systems often meet with great resistance. Racism is reflected in and reinforced by our education system in a wide variety of ways, and only an explicit effort to address systemic discrimination will reduce the complicity of our education system in its reproduction.
Drawing on the experiences of students and teachers in Ireland of trying to address racism, Dr Michael explores the extent to which the Irish education system appears open to those explicit efforts towards change. How well are the systemic effects of racism understood, and addressed, in state and activist responses to racism in education? And why are we seeing such slow progress in key areas, despite the availability of international good practice to follow?
Time: Thursday, December 9th, 6pm – 7pm Location: The event will take place this year online
We will be delivering a free 3 hour introduction to recruiting diversity of talent, handling qualifications & work permits, addressing equality issues and benefitting from diversity in your team. Group size is limited to 15, to ensure a truly interactive training focused on your learning needs.
“Thank you; this was incredibly helpful. I really liked that it was so orientated towards things we can do as institutions, as individuals who have a part in shaping the institutions, and as individuals inside institutions.”
What will you learn? Here’s what one participant told us were his takeaways:
1. Speed creates bias – Given also that unfamiliarity leads to high anxiety, has your hiring for diversity been well thought through, with robust process and criteria, and definitely not rushed?
2. Systems must help – Both organisational recognition and local mapping of foreign qualifications, and knowledge of work permits are critical. Is your application system currently providing sufficient opportunity for additional narrative, also around experience?
3. End-to-end inclusion encouragement – From the job spec through to the interview form and beyond, is your hiring process encouraging an inclusive approach throughout?
Final thought. When workplace teams reflect their target customers, the entire team is twice as likely to innovate. Fact.
We look forward to meeting you in our next training!
Thanks to everyone who supported the launch of our new book at UCD on 25 September, particularly Councillor Hazel Chu, who officially launched it, and the UCD Migration Platform and UCD School of Social Policy, Social Justice and Social Work.