Republican News · Thursday 23 March 2000

[An Phoblacht]

Promoting racial equality

A report was launched in Belfast on Tuesday 21 March to mark the UN's International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

The report, titled ``Developing a North/South Agenda for Anti-Racism and Racial Equality Strategies'', is a joint venture by the Equality Commission for the North and the National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism (NCCRI), outlines recent progress in the development of legislative and anti-racism strategies to address racism in Ireland.

The publication marks the development of a North/South agenda to address racism and arises out of a round table conference involving government and non-governmental bodies from both the Six and 26 Counties.

The report shows that cultural diversity is beginning to be recognised and accepted in Ireland. New figures show that the largest ethnic groups in the 26 Counties are Irish Travellers, with an estimated 22,000 people and in the Six Counties the Chinese community, with about 8,000 people. In the 26 Counties, the range of different nationalities seeking asylum, from 140 countries, has contributed to a growing diversity.

Joan Harbison, Chief Commissioner of the Equality Commission, said at the launch: ``The climate for developing an agenda for future cross-border cooperation to promote racial equality is born of a number of factors, which includes increased recognition of cultural diversity and racism. Activity in the community sector and the development of partnerships in working towards an inclusive society have contributed to a new confidence in promoting racial issues.

``We in the Equality Commission are anxious that the commitments made in the Good Friday Agreement will be fulfilled and that a broad and inclusive equality agenda, promoting the rights of all to fair participation, will emerge.''

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