First Minister Rt. Hon Peter D. Robinson MLA and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness MLA welcomed the Executive Agreement on a Racial Equality Strategy.
The Racial Equality Strategy 2015-25 sets out how Government Departments will create the conditions and circumstances to tackle racial inequalities, eradicate racism, hate crime and promote good race relations and social cohesion.
First Minister, Peter Robinson said:
“Society in Northern Ireland has become increasingly multicultural and this strategy is our acknowledgement of the positive contribution minority ethnic groups make to our economic, public, political, social and cultural life.
“We must tackle any racial inequalities these communities face as part of their daily lives in Northern Ireland. We will leave no stone unturned in our efforts to ensure ethnic minority people living and working among us will not be subjected to racially motivated acts of violence. Such attacks are attacks on us all and tarnish the reputation of Northern Ireland and its people.
“Ethnic minorities offer a wide range of skills, new ideas, and fresh perspectives which contribute significantly to Northern Ireland’s future.”
The deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said:
“We must not just aspire to create a place where people can live, learn, socialise and work together regardless of race or ethnicity, we must all step forward and make it happen.
“Government alone cannot and will not eradicate racism and racial inequalities. There are already many people and organisations who are doing powerful work in their neighbourhoods, places of worship and workplaces to tackle racism. The Strategy provides a platform for action to build on these efforts and generate further momentum.
“Soon we will see the arrival of Syrian refugees to the north of Ireland. We cannot begin to imagine the tragic chain of events that have resulted in these families coming here. Their sense of pain, fear and loss is immeasurable. Collectively we can ensure the nightmare for their families ends as we provide a safe and welcoming place for them to live.
“Plans are well underway with all Departments and agencies well prepared. Now is the time for all our people to extend the hand of friendship and provide a warm welcome.”
The Strategy sets out a number of proposed actions for delivery by departments in collaboration with key representative groups and stakeholders including work to tackle racist bullying and racist hate crime, a review of current legislation, identify racial equality champions in all departments and establish a new Racial Equality Subgroup.