But only 12 out of a reported 14,000 race hate crimes in Northern Ireland over the last five years have resulted in successful prosecutions, according to a report backed by the power-sharing administration in Belfast.
Despite an increase in racist attacks in the first six months of this year, so far the police clear-up rate for race hate crimes is just over 8% of incidents reported between January and April 2014, the report reveals.
The annual Human Rights and Racial Equality Benchmarking Report 2013/2014, released on Tuesday, points out that there were 982 racist incidents in 2013-14 while there were 750 such incidents in 2012-2013.
The report’s authors also reveal the nature of the attacks, mainly concentrated in the Greater Belfast area, since the start of 2014. These include:
• January 2014: four vehicles were burned out across North Belfast with Slovakian, Afghan and Polish families targeted by arsonists. In two cases households were forced to flee in order to protect their children.
• March 2014: a Polish family living on the Rathcoole estate on the northern outskirts of Belfast were terrorised out of their home by a loyalist gang who broke their windows and used a pipe bomb to destroy a car beside the property.
• May 2014: a Romanian cyclist has excrement thrown at him while travelling along Newtownards Road in east Belfast. In the same area a Jamaican family in the north of the city are attacked.
• June 2014: Two Pakistani men flee their home in north Belfast after first their windows were smashed and later the following day, the pair were physically attacked outside the property.
The survey, which was commissioned by the Northern Ireland Council For Ethnic Minorities (Nicem), also found that racism has supplanted traditional sectarianism as the main reason for employees being harassed, bullied or threatened in the region’s workplaces.
It noted that over the last five years 75% of all complaints about harassment in the office, shop or factory to the Equality Commission in Northern Ireland are related to racial abuse and intimidation.
Yet while over the last year Northern Ireland has become one of the worst hot spots for racist crimes and race-hate linked incidents, the authors of the report say that the region is home to only 1% of all the non-EU/European Economic Area migrants who have come into the UK.
As well as giving a wide ranging picture of racist abuse, intimidation and discrimination against immigrants, the report also assesses the status of the Irish Traveller community in Northern Ireland. The report’s authors note that 92% of Traveller children leave school in the region without any qualifications.
Overall, in local schools, the report reveals that 75% of children from ethnic minority groups experience derogatory racist name calling and that 42% of minority ethnic 16-year-old students had been “a victim of racist bullying or harassment in their school”.
Nicem’s director, Patrick Yu, said the 104-page report was “very timely” given the recent spate of high-profile racist attacks and the furore overPastor John McConnell’s outburst against Islam, which embroiled the first minister, Peter Robinson, in alleged anti-Muslim remarks. Both the first minister and McConnell apologised for their comments, with Robinson issuing his apology on the steps of Belfast Islamic Centre last month.
Yu said that the report “highlights deficiencies and underlying gaps in the protection of ethnic minorities in NI across all the key policy areas. Such deficiencies must be rectified if we are to tackle the underlying inequalities and prejudices that causes hate crime in Northern Ireland.”
He called on the coalition at Stormont to publish its racial equality strategy in the light of this report and its findings. Yu said the strategy must be implemented because this report “maps all the current racial inequalities in Northern Ireland that breach international human rights standards”.
According to the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister in Northern Ireland, the devolved government’s anti-racism strategy will be published shorty.
In response to the latest spike in racist violence and intimidation, most of it but not all concentrated in loyalist working-class ares, the Police Service of Northern Ireland has launched Operation Reiner. The PSNI said that since May there have been 13 arrests in connection with race-related incidents in the Greater Belfast area.
Via – http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/jun/17/racism-northern-ireland-race-related-incidents-reported-daily