[Sinn Fein]

20th March 2003

Concerted action required to eliminate racial discrimination in Ireland

In a joint statement on the eve of the UNESCO International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on Friday 21st March, Sinn Fein Assembly group leader Conor Murphy MLA and Equality Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD have said that concerted action is required to make the elimination of racial discrimination a reality on the island of Ireland.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh and Mr Murphy said:

``Central to the Peace Process and the Good Friday Agreement is the vindication and protection of the human rights of all. This must include the human rights of people who suffer from racial discrimination. The vindication and promotion of human rights must be actively pursued throughout Ireland.

``We have seen a significant increase in racially motivated hate crime and sectarianism across Ireland in the past number of years. We need to challenge them on a 32 county basis.

``Racism does not grow by accident or in isolation - neither does sectarianism. We need to commit ourselves to a culture of human rights for all. Sinn Fein are not alone in wanting to create a society in Ireland based on tolerance, respect and understanding. However, both the British government Irish government have adopted an adversarial approach to this issue. Nowhere is this more clearly so than in the immigration and refugee policies of both governments.

``In particular, Sinn Fein strongly deplore the Dublin governments decision to reduce thousands of Irish-born children to the status of second class  citizens on the basis of their ethnicity alone following the Supreme Court judgement that paved the way for their de facto deportation along with their parents. This move will not only encourage racism in Irish society and immigration policy but may also lead to discrimination against women asylum seekers

``Such decisions mirror the draconian response of the British government to the issue of asylum seekers. There is a huge richness to be gained from multi-culturalism. With information, education and political leadership, fear and misunderstanding can be replaced with an embracing of the growing diversity in Irish society.'' ENDS

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