Refugees Welcome Rally Belfast

Belfast showed its solidarity towards refugees in a mass rally held at Belfast City Hall, Saturday 12th September. “From war-torn Syria and elsewhere across the Middle East, families are being forced to flee their homes in fear for their lives. “Europe is not doing enough to offer them safety and the response of the UK has been shameful. Too often, refugees are left to the mercy of unseaworthy boats or the back of refrigerated lorries. We can and we must do better than that.” Organised by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and Amnesty International, the rally heard calls for ‘concerted political action’ in Brussels, Westminster and Stormont to address the crisis. Hundreds attended the event at Belfast City Hall. Speakers included a 19-year-old Syrian refugee who arrived in Northern Ireland two years ago after fleeing war-torn Aleppo, Patrick Corrigan, Amnesty International, Patricia McKeown, ICTU, Justin Kouame, NICRAS and Liz Griffith, Law centre. The demonstration was an act of solidarity with men, women and children who find themselves fleeing for their lives from bombs, bullets and brutality. Rallies also took place in Derry and...

United civic voice calls for greater ambition in Racial Equality Strategy

NIC-ICTU and more than 20 groups join together to help ensure strong civic input to key document. More than 20 leading organisations from civic society are calling for the NI Executive’s proposed flagship document on racial equality – launched by Executive Ministers in June – to be more ambitious, far-reaching and robust. As part of the consultation process on the Draft Racial Equality Strategy, the organisations believe a united and strong civic voice is essential to help ensure the strategy is “up to the challenge”, and they have therefore joined together to respond. In their ‘Common Platform’ paper, to be officially launched today (Tuesday September 9th, 12pm) at an event in Parliament Buildings, Stormont, the group sets out a wide-ranging contribution, intended to help ensure the final Racial Equality Strategy is as impactful as possible. They identify numerous key issues they say must be addressed. These include: the need to urgently reform race relations legislation; a need for recognition of the essential contribution that Black and Ethnic Minority communities have made, and continue to make, to Northern Ireland; and a need to develop a clear action plan across central and local government to tackle key inequalities on a range of social policy issues, such as social attitudes, education, employment, accommodation, health, and welfare. They say that the final Racial Equality Strategy must be based on evidence, be accompanied by a robust action plan with clear priorities and responsibilities, a programme of activities, adequate resourcing that is long-term and outcome-based, and a strong monitoring mechanism. The ‘Common Platform’ document has been produced as a framework for the wider community to...