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Consultative Committee,
26 Harcourt Street,
Dublin 2.
Tel: (01) 4785777
Fax: (01) 4785778

National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism Printable version

Activity pack contents:

Ideas & Activities
Workshops & Role Plays
Resource Section
Schools Charter
Award Scheme
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Activity Pack - Resources Section


This section provides a glossary of terms and references to other useful websites.

Websites -
Website of the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland which has information on a range of equality issues including racial equality and this activity pack and its updates.
Website of the National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism which has a wide range of background information and this activity pack and its updates.
Website of the Equality Authority in the Republic of Ireland with information on a range of equality issues, including information about the recent equality legislation.

Website of the UN High Commission for Human Rights; for further information about the forthcoming World Conference on Racism.
Website of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees includes a section especially for teachers (see 'for teachers' on the main page of the site). For primary schools there is a free seven minute video and support pack - 'Carly' - which is an educational tool for 5 - 8 year olds and includes a handbook and notes for teachers. This pack and video are available from the UNHCR, 27 Upper Fitzwilliam Street, Dublin 2 or UNHCR, 21 - 24 Milbank Tower, London, SW1P 4QP.
Website of the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform which includes press statements on Ireland's recent ratification of the CERD and the forthcoming national anti racism public awareness programme.
Website of the Commission for Racial Equality in London for a range of information on racial equality issues.
Website of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission
Website of the 1990 Trust with links to a number of other sites
Websites of the European Network Against Racism in Brussels and the Internet Centre Against Racism.
For information on the non-governmental forum in South Africa that will run parallel to the World Conference.
Website of the Human Rights Institute in Canada which includes, among other things, updated and comprehensive information on the World Conference.
Pavee Point Travellers Centre.
Irish Traveller Movement.
Irish Refugee Council
United Kingdom Refugee Council
Irish Centre for Migration Studies

The role of the Media

See workshop section and the following publications:

  • 'The Media in Ireland' (Ed) Damien Kiberd. Open Air, 1999
  • Racism in Ireland. The Media in Focus. NUJ, 1998
  • Racial Equality Bulletin No 2 - press reporting on minority ethnic issues and racism in Northern Ireland. Equality Commission, 1999

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Glossary of Terms -

What do we mean by racism?

Any theory involving the claim that racial or ethnic groups are inherently superior or inferior, thus implying that some would be entitled to dominate or eliminate others who would be inferior; or which places a value judgement on racial differentiation, has no scientific foundation and is contrary to the moral and ethical principles of humanity (UNESCO Declaration, 1978)

'Racism is the belief that some 'races' are superior to others - based on the false idea that different physical characteristics (like skin colour) or ethnic background make some people different from others.' (Edinburgh City Council, Education Department)

There are a number of forms of racism evident in Ireland, North and South:

  • The racism experienced by the Traveller community based on their distinct culture and nomadic identity.
  • The racism experienced by minority ethnic groups experience racism on the basis of skin colour and their ethnicity, whatever their legal status or citizenship.
  • The racism experienced by refugees and asylum seekers.

What do we mean by 'race'?

The term 'race' has been used in the past to indicate recognisable categories within the human species. The concept has been disproved by many academics as an attempt to rank people according to physical and biological criteria. The acceptance of 'race' as a credible concept has been used as a justification for racism. As a term 'race' is still used in both a legal and other contexts in Ireland, North and South.

Human beings are one species. Species is a biological term given to any group of animal or plants that can procreate and produce descendants. Within this species (Homo Sapiens) there is a diversity of physical features: skin colour, facial features, bone structures, hair, height, and so on. Increasingly, the term ethnic group is replacing the outmoded concept of 'race'.

What is an ethnic group?

Generally speaking an ethnic group shares a common ancestry, culture, history, tradition and sense of belonging and is a political and economic interest group. Ethnicity is a way or categorising people on the basis of self-identity and ascription by others. This has been the subject of judicial interpretation in the United Kingdom

What laws apply in the case of racial discrimination?

The most important laws in Northern Ireland (NI) and the Republic of Ireland (ROI) are:
The Race Relations (Northern Ireland) Order 1997. {N.I}
The Employment Equality Act (1998) {ROI}
The Equal Status Act (2000) {ROI}

Northern Ireland

What is unlawful discrimination under the Order?

There are three main types of racial discrimination:

  • Direct - where someone is treated less favourably on racial grounds than others in the same, or similar circumstances.
  • Indirect -
    • where there is a rule or requirement which is compulsory for everyone
    • but which a considerably smaller number from a racial group can comply with than the number from other racial groups
    • the imposition of the rule or requirement causes a detriment, and it cannot be justified
  • Victimisation - where someone is treated less favourably because they have complained of racial discrimination or given information or evidence in connection with proceedings under the Race Relations (NI) Order 1997 or alleged that someone has contravened the Order or is suspected of doing so.

What does 'racial grounds' mean?

This includes race, colour, nationality (including citizenship) and ethnic or national origin. It also includes the grounds of belonging to the Irish Traveller community defined as:

…the community of people commonly so called who are identified (both by themselves and by others) as people with a shared history, culture and traditions including, historically, a nomadic life on the island of Ireland..'

Republic of Ireland

The Employment Equality Act 1998 and the Equal Status Act promote equality and prohibit discrimination in the areas of employment and the provision of good and services across nine grounds, including 'race' and membership of the Traveller Community. Both Acts have provisions on direct and indirect discrimination.

Direct Discrimination

Amounts to less favourable treatment.

Indirect Discrimination

Indirect discrimination is more subtle and harder to prove. In general if a practice or requirement is found to have the effect of excluding a protected group then the employer or service provider will have indirectly discriminated.

For information on the equality legislation in the Republic of Ireland see: or contact the Equality Authority, phone 01 4173333.

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Charter aims

One of the activities that we would recommend for schools or other groups working with young people is the development of a Charter that would be prominently displayed within the school/youth centre. The Charter should be drawn up with the participation of the students, rather than simply replicating what another school/centre has done. The Charter can be undertaken on its own or as a culmination of a range of activities set out in this pack.

Age Group - can be adapted to suit a wide range of students

Materials - Pens, paper, flip chart and stand. Resources to frame the charter.

Time - 45 minutes

Method -

  • Divide people into small groups
  • Ask the small groups to discuss the following:
    • Why draw up a Charter?
    • What should be the main points that should go into the charter?
    • How could the charter be launched?
    • How can everyone learn to respect the principles of the charter?
  • Ask one group to come up with an overall design for the charter.

Consider the following suggestions -

  • Begin with an overall statement.
  • Include the need to reject racism and celebrate diversity.
  • Consider the overall tone - positive and inclusive rather than raising fears.

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Later this year the Equality Commission and the NCCRI will acknowledge the participation of schools in activities to address racism and promote inclusion. To qualify schools should outline below what activities have been undertaken and what the activities achieved. The activities can take place during European week against racism or at any time before the closing date of 30th June 2001.



Name of School:


Phone No:

Fax No:


Contact Person:

Description of activities undertaken:





What the Activities achieved



Comments on the Pack/Suggestions for updates



Note: If you have drawn up a school charter against racism, please send us a copy with the application form.

N. Ireland
The Equality Commission
for Northern Ireland
Racial Equality Directorate
60 Great Victoria Street
Belfast BT2 7BB

Republic of Ireland
The National Consultative
Committee on Racism
and Interculturalism
26 Harcourt Street
Dublin 2

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