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Friday, 11 May 2018

Government austerity and immigration policies made UK more racist, UN inspector

Written by Izzy Lyons

Austerity and immigration policies imposed by the Government have made the UK a more racist country, a UN inspector has said.

Tendayi Achiume, the UN's Special Rapporteur on Racism, criticised the Government's adoption of "sweeping austerity measures" since 2010, which have "disproportionately" affected ethnic minorities.

Ms Achiume's preliminary findings, which included criticism of the "hostile environment" introduced by Theresa May when she was Home Secretary, come after a two-week trip visiting victims of racial hate crime across the country.

Her first day in the UK coincided with Amber Rudd's resignation as Home Secretary following the Windrush scandal.

Ms Achiume (pictured) added that the picture for young black boys in Britain "remains grim and has actually worsened".

Speaking at a press conference to mark the end of her trip, Ms Achiume said: "The structural socioeconomic exclusion of racial and ethnic minority communities in the United Kingdom is striking.

"The harsh reality is that race, ethnicity, religion, gender, disability status and related categories all continue to determine the life chances and wellbeing of people in Britain in ways that are unacceptable and in many cases unlawful.

"Austerity measures have been disproportionately detrimental to racial and ethnic minority communities. Unsurprisingly, austerity has had especially pronounced inter-sectional consequences, making women of colour the worst affected."

Ahead of her visit, Ms Achiume said she intended to investigate the role Brexit may have played in exacerbating "structural forms of discrimination and exclusion in Britain".

When asked whether she thought the Brexit vote had made Britain a more racist country, she responded: "I think the environment leading up to the referendum, during the referendum and after the referendum has made racial ethnicities more vulnerable to racial discrimination and intolerance."

However, Ms Achiume did praise Theresa May's Racial Disparity Audit, commissioned in 2016, as a "remarkable step in transforming racial equality into reality" and that it is "worthy of emulation by governments all over the world".

Ms Achiume strongly recommended the British Government repeal aspects of the 2014 and 2016 Immigration Act which helped foster May's hostile environment.

"The hostile environment will remain in place for as long as the legal and policy frameworks rooted in 2014 and 2016 Immigration Acts remain in place," she said.

"The UK has much to do in the arena of addressing structural and institutional forms of racial discrimination and inequality," she added.

Ms Achiume will release a report in June 2019 further outlining her findings.

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) UN Human Rights / Youtube.