NCCRI Progress Report 1998-2000
The National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism (NCCRI) publishes this report with the aim of charting our progress over the period 1998-2001. It is published at a time when there is increased awareness about racism in Ireland but also increased resolve to tackle racism in all its forms.
The report outlines the aims, approach and the outcomes of the work of the NCCRI, which seeks to draw together key government and non-government agencies to address racism and to promote a more inclusive and intercultural society. Much remains to be done and we look forward to building on existing and developing new strategies to address
Through this report I would like to acknowledge the continuing support of Mr John O Donoghue, TD, Minister for Justice, Equality and law Reform and the officers and support staff of his Department.
I would like to thank in particular all the members of the NCCRI for their support and contribution along with the members of the various sub committees where the work of the NCCRI is progressed.
Finally I would also like to fully acknowledge and thank the Director, Philip Watt and staff of the NCCRI, Catherine Lynch, Kensika Monshengwo and Bronwen Maher who have coordinated and implemented the work outlined in this report.
Introduction by Mr John O Donoghue TD,
Minster for Justice, Equality and Law Reform
I am very pleased to launch this first progress report on the activities and achievements of the National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism (NCCRI).
I am committed to combating racism in all its forms. This Government has put in place the most comprehensive range of legislation to tackle racism and promote human rights at home. A short three years ago there was no comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation in this jurisdiction. Since then, I have enacted the Employment Equality Act, 1998 and the Equal Status Act, 2000 – which serve to protect against discrimination on nine specific grounds, including racist grounds, in the employment and non-employment areas – and which are considered as a model at a European level. Together with the equality infrastructure that has been put in place to give effect to the legislation – the Equality Authority and the Office of the Director for Equality Investigations – we have among the most comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation in the European Union. The enactment of such equality measures by this Government also enabled Ireland to ratify the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
The NCCRI was established with funding from my Department in 1998 with the objective of developing an integrated approach against racism and promoting a participative and intercultural society which is inclusive of persons such as refugees, Travellers and minority ethnic groups in Ireland. This progress report serves as an acknowledgement of the NCCRI's achievements since its establishment.
Over the past three years, the NCCRI has made a significant contribution in addressing racism, including co-ordinating many awareness-raising events. A recent example was the launch of an education pack and poster for schools to mark the International Day Against Racism on March 21st. The NCCRI has also made an important contribution in drawing up the evaluation for the anti-racism public awareness programme. It continues to provide valuable assistance through its participation in the High Level Steering Group established to implement the programme in partnership with the Equality Division of my Department. Among the other noteworthy achievements of the NCCRI have been the organisation of our national conference on racism last year in preparation for the forthcoming UN World Conference Against Racism and the establishment of a system for reporting racist incidents and recording them on its web site. The NCCRI has also been responsible for the introduction of the anti-racism protocol for political parties which has been adopted by all of the political parties of the Oireachtas.
The NCCRI established a training unit and provides anti-racism training to government departments and other organisations. It also established, with the support of the Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs, a community development unit which assists and supports community groups working with refugees and asylum seekers.
The work and expertise of the NCCRI will continue to be of valuable assistance in our commitment to tackle any tendency towards the surfacing of racist views or attitudes in Irish society. It serves to complement the work undertaken by other public and private organisations in the field of anti-racism and interculturalism, such as the work of the Task Force on the Travelling Community, the Garda Síochána Intercultural Unit, the Prisons Service, the Reception and Integration Agency, the Social Partners, and of course, the Equality Authority.
I acknowledge the achievements of the NCCRI and its chairperson, Dr. Anastasia Crickley, and I will continue to provide support for their efforts in developing integrated initiatives to address racism and to promote the value of an inclusive society where diversity is welcomed.
John O'Donoghue, T.D., Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform.
The National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism was established in July 1998 by John O’Donoghue TD, Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform. The overall role of the Committee is to act in a policy advisory role and to contribute to the overall development of public policy in relation to racism and interculturalism and to encourage integrated action towards acknowledging, understanding and celebrating cultural diversity in Ireland.
A key feature of the NCCRI strategy has been to work at national level in partnership with government departments, statutory agencies and the social partners, including the voluntary and community sector. This partnership approach is reflected in both the structure of the NCCRI, where there is broad representation on the Board, its sub committees and through the participation of people in the numerous roundtables, seminars, training programmes and conferences organised by the NCCRI since it was established in July 1998.
NCCRI also seeks to work in respond to and participate in relevant initiatives at European and global level and we welcome the recent decision by the European Monitoring Centre on Racism based in Vienna to designate the NCCRI in partnership with the Equality Authority as the National Focal Point to address racism in Ireland.
At an international level, the NCCRI has been active in the preparations at a national and European level for the World Conference on Racism to be held in south Africa in September 2001 and which provides an important opportunity for governments around the world to restate their commitment to work against racism and to agreed and implement a programme of action.
A further key feature of the work of the NCCRI has been the cross border dimension. The NCCRI has worked in partnership with the Equality Commission in Northern Ireland to develop a North/South approach to addressing racism. This has included the publication of a strategy report and a joint information and resource pack, which has been made available to all primary and post primary schools in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.