In the joint submission of the Northern Ireland Council for Racial Equality and the APG on Ethnic Minority Community to Northern Ireland Affairs Committee on the experience of minority ethnic and migrant people in Northern Ireland, we highlighted the fact that disparities and inequalities do persist.
Racism and discrimination remain a factor in shaping people’s life outcomes, and these detrimental attitudes continue in our society’s institutions and increasingly online. Institutional and structural racism continue to impact BME and migrant people living in Northern Ireland.
The McPherson Report defines Institutional Racism as:
“The collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional services to people because of their colour, culture or ethnic origin which can be seen or detected in processes; attitudes and behaviour which amount to discrimination through unwitting prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness, and racist stereotyping which disadvantage minority ethnic people.”
It is well known that the outcomes and mortality rate for “Black and minority ethnic” people during the pandemic were disproportionately higher than other racial groups. The link between structural racism, social exclusion, disparities, and inequalities has been long recognised and continues to confront us in our daily lives, employment, education, health and social care, housing, UK’s immigration policies, criminal justice system, etc.
I therefore invite the Inquiry to include structural racism and discrimination in its examination of Module 2 issues. We consider it essential that an expert in structural racism and discrimination is instructed. We also champion witness accounts from the bereaved and other Black and Minority Ethnic groups whose experiences of COVID-19 were exacerbated by structural discrimination and racism, as well as by obtaining relevant expert evidence on structural discrimination and racism.
I further invite the Inquiry to include expert evidence in the assessment of proposed policies and decisions under the equality categories, Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1997. The evidence should include appropriate Equality Impact Assessments which are referred to within conclusions.
Patrick Yu, National Black Members’ Committee (NI representative)
Read more about the UK COVID-19 Public Inquiry.