Tackling Racism and Discrimination through Integration
Ireland is fortunate in that we do not have a tradition of extreme anti-migrant elements operating within our political landscape. Nonetheless, back in 2005, Ireland showed leadership in the area of combating racism by becoming one of the first states in the world to develop a National Action Plan against Racism (NAPR) which ran for four years to 2008 and set as its strategic direction a goal of developing a more intercultural and inclusive society.
At the heart of the Plan was an integration-driven approach with supports being provided towards the development of a number of national and local strategies promoting greater integration in our workplaces, in An Garda Síochána, the health service, in our education system, in the arts and sports sectors and within our local authorities. Many of the initiatives and practices instigated through the NAPR continued to be developed and implemented in the years after the Plan’s expiry with the support of the OPMI.
Now, ten years on since the NAPR was completed, the global migration landscape has changed dramatically. As well as changing patterns in regular migration, the unprecedented numbers of refugees arriving in EU States, including Ireland, since the onset of the refugee crisis in Europe in 2015, has presented our society with new challenges. It has also given new impetus to that very small minority who would seek to divide our communities with through racism, xenophobia and discrimination. A renewed approach is required not only to continue to promote the integration of migrants in an ever-increasingly diverse society, but also to ensure racism, hate crime and discrimination are tackled through education, through dialogue, and where necessary, through the law of the land.
What we do:
The Government’s main approach to tackling racism and racial discrimination for the current period to 2020, is to do so through a series targeted actions contained within the Migrant Integration Strategy under the specific theme of Promoting Intercultural Awareness and Combating Racism and Xenophobia. OPMI is tasked with coordinating efforts across all participating Departments and Agencies to achieve those actions.
OPMI also engages regularly with other public sector bodies and civil society through its work in meeting the States International reporting obligations under both the United Nations International Convention for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) and the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI). Click on the links below to find out more.
Ireland and CERD
Ireland and ECRI
What you can do:
Tackling racism and promoting diversity is not just the responsibility of Government. Everybody in Irish society, including individuals, organisations, businesses, Governmental and non- Governmental Organisations have a responsibility to address racism and its impact on the people who experience it.
If you experience or witness racism, xenophobic behaviour or racial discrimination there is a number of things you can do.
- Report racist behaviour, abuse, hate speech to the Garda Síochána
- Contact the Crime Victims helpline
- Contact the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission and/or Workplace Relations (discrimination in employment and supply of goods and services)
- File a report with iReport.ie (operated by ENAR Ireland)
- Contact the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland if you want to report racist or xenophobic content on TV or Radio
- Contact the Press Council/Press Ombudsman if you want to report racist or xenophoboic content in print media
- Contact the Office for Internet Safety if you find racist or xenophobic material online
- Contact your local authority to report racist graffiti and have it removed
- The website of the Irish branch of the European Network Against Racism - ENAR Ireland - also provides a lot of information on what to do if you encounter racism either as a victim or a witness.