NCCRI newsletter, February 2001
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March 21st is International Day Against Racism. This day is recognised throughout the world as the date on which activities take place to highlight opposition to racism.
It is of particular importance in Ireland in relation to the on-going preparations for the UN World Conference on Racism that will take place in South Africa in September 2001.
The NCCRI is involved in developing a coordinated North/South approach to International Day Against Racism in Ireland in 2001 that will involve working in partnership with the Equality Commission in Northern Ireland.
It is further proposed that initiatives linked to the period on and around March 21st should have a strong focus on the role of education in tackling racism and more broadly the importance of the participation of young people.
If your organisation is interested in participating in such an approach, either through organising events or through highlighting the aims of the day through your normal activities please get in touch with the NCCRI.
The government will shortly be announcing the details of the high level steering group to coordinate the forthcoming National Anti- Racism Public Awareness Programme. The NCCRI drew up the strategic plan for the programme which was approved by the government. £4.5 million has been allocated for implementing the programme over the next three years.
The programme emphasises the importance of wide participation in the programme and the importance of statutory and non-statutory agencies working together to maximise its impact. The NCCRI has urged that the programme be commenced as soon as possible.
The National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism (NCCRI), welcomes the Government decision to ratify in full The United Nations International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (1969).
The ratification of the Convention sends out an important signal to the international community that Ireland is committed to tackling racism and it provides an important mechanism through which progress to address racism in Ireland can be monitored and reviewed at UN level.
The Oireachtas completed the process of ratifying the Convention just before Christmas. This will bring Ireland into line with all other EU Member States.
The NCCRI particularly welcomes the ratification of the Convention as this was one of the commitments given by Mr John O' Donoghue TD, Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform at the conference held in September that was organised by the NCCRI in association with the Minister's Department and the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Under the Convention, States are pledged:
One of the important obligations under the Convention is that Ireland along with other States, will be required to submit a comprehensive report every four years to the CERD Committee which monitors and reviews compliance of the Convention. Brief updating reports are also submitted at intervening two year periods. The process of drawing up these reports could provide an important means of reviewing benchmarking progress in tackling racism in Ireland.
The pledges in the Convention also complements the equality legislation enacted at national level in Ireland which outlaws discrimination on a range of nine grounds, and further complements the recent EU Directive on this issue arising out of the Treaty of Amsterdam.
Ireland's ratification of the Convention will fill a significant gap in our UN commitments. It will also provide enhanced opportunities for Ireland to contribute to the global summit on racism and in particular to support the strengthening of the Convention.
The NCCRI Training and Resource Unit was established in April 2000 in response to the growing needs of government and non-government agencies for anti racism awareness raising. Because of the growing demand for such training the key focus of the training unit at present is to work with government departments and statutory bodies, which are now beginning to recognise the importance of such training as a component of wider in service training.
The training is also consistent with the new commitments to Equality in the Strategic Management Initiative (SMI), which aims to renew public service in Ireland
Kensika Monshengwo, training officer with the NCCRI has been in considerable demand in recent months in devising and delivering programmes to regional health authorities, bodies responsible for promoting equality, national media organisations, hospitals, training and employment authorities and to trade unions, employers and community/voluntary organisations.
The aim of the Training and Resource Unit are:
The overall approach to the training is to be both participative and challenging and to allow participants to actively contribute to the sessions.
The content is a mixture of discussion on the different processes and manifestations of racism while keeping in mind the need to adopt strategies to combat racism, tailored to the individual organisations present. A combination of the training methodologies are employed, including providing accurate information, helping participants to learn through experience, considering the implication of a multi-ethnic society for the workplace and encouraging strategic planning.
Forthcoming activities include:
NCCRI has established a community development support unit for groups working with refugees and asylum seekers. Funding was granted by the Community Development Programme (CDP).
The aim of the unit is to create the conditions, particularly at national level where community development with refugees and asylum seekers is recognised and resourced as a key strategy to addressing racism and social exclusion.
The approach to the work is strategic and one of partnership. It seeks to ensure a strong regional and urban/rural dimension and to work closely with programmes to address social exclusion such as the Local Development and Community Development Programmes.
Background to establishing the unit
A number of processes had identified a need for such a unit including:
Progress to date
Catherine Lynch was recently appointed community development officer and has been consulting with groups around developing a strategic plan for the unit. Other initiatives taken in relation to community development and asylum include:
Forthcoming activities include:
The National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism (NCCRI) in partnership with the Equality Authority have been identified as the National Focal Point in Ireland for the European Union Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC).
All other EU Member States are in the process of developing similar National Focal Points and one of the first tasks will be to undertake a mapping exercise on anti racism, which will eventually form part of a European wide data and information project called RAXEN.
Mapping exercise in Ireland
The mapping exercise can be summarised as 'what is known, where and by whom in the field of combating racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism'. The Equality Authority and NCCRI have contracted Piaras MacÉinrí and his colleague Dr Steve Garner in the Irish Centre for Migration studies in NUI Cork to undertake the mapping exercise in Ireland.
The purpose of the mapping exercise is to seek to develop and make available a comprehensive database on organisations and their work in relation to anti racism, that will be accessible to all through the internet. The information to be collected is of a non-confidential nature and relates to contact addresses; publications; related activities etc.
The data for the mapping exercise will be collected through four questionnaire templates that have been E-Mailed or posted to organisations around the country. The exercise will be completed in March 2001.
An information seminar on this initiative will take place on 13th March in Cork, (details will be circulated in the near future).
The overall objective of the Local Development Social Inclusion Programme is to counter disadvantage and to promote equality and social and economic inclusion. This is achieved through the provision of funding and support to Partnerships and Community Groups that adopt a partnership approach to tackling local issues on the basis of comprehensive, integrated local development plans designed to counter social exclusion and to equitably target the opportunities and benefits of development to the most disadvantaged individuals and groups within their areas.
Refugees and asylum seekers are one of the target groups of the Local Development Social Inclusion Programme. The Local Partnerships and Community Groups have prepared their Strategic Plans to deliver on the Programmes objectives and many are currently in the process of finalising their Programme of Activities for 2001.
Many Partnerships and Community Groups, community development and support groups have requested information and support from both Area Development Management (ADM) and the National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism (NCCRI) in relation to the development of effective strategies that will promote the inclusion of refugees and asylum seekers in local development. They have also indicated the need for further information and discussion about current policy on these issues. In response to these requests, a seminar will be held on 22 February in Dublin Castle. For more information on the Local Development Social Inclusion Programme and the seminar please contact Catherine Lynch at the NCCRI office, phone 01-478 5777.