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UK hit by Brexit-related racism: UN inspector

Press Trust of India  |  London 

Britain's referendum to leave the has created an environment of increased racial discrimination in the UK, according to the UN's on

said she had noted "explicit racial, ethnic and religious intolerance" during her visit to Britain and also that hate crimes had marked a spike since the Brexit referendum in June 2016.

"The environment leading up to the referendum, the environment during the referendum, and the environment after the referendum has made racial and ethnic minorities more vulnerable to racial discrimination and intolerance," said Achiume at the end of a 12-day tour of Britain this week.

"Many with whom I consulted highlighted the growth in volume and acceptability of xenophobic discourses on migration, and on foreign nationals including refugees in social and print media," she said.

Last year, the UN had asked Britain to let its experts visit to examine the impact of Brexit on race relations.

Achiume, a law at the who was appointed in her UN role in September 2017, singled out Britain's hostile environment policy for immigrants.

"This hostile environment applies not only for irregular immigrants, but for racial and ethnic minority individuals with regular status, and many who are British citizens and have been entitled to this citizenship as far back as the colonial era," she said.

Achiume's was referring to the recent Windrush scandal affecting migrants from the which resulted in the resignation of former UK last month.

"A clear example was the resignation of the home secretary, Amber Rudd, on the first day of my visit," she noted.

The UN also expressed alarm at the stark increase in hate crimes and incidents across the UK after the referendum to leave the (EU).

"The harsh reality is 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," she said.

Her harsh findings attracted criticism from some political quarters in the UK, with former UK categorising her visit as "pointless".

"They [UN visits] are politically motivated, they are inspired by the extreme left, and the idea is to kick the UK," he said.

Achiume, who is due to publish a full report on her findings in June 2019, concluded that while the UK embraced a "substantive vision of racial equality, and explicitly prohibited both direct and indirect forms of racial discrimination" there was "much to do especially in the arena of addressing structural forms of racial discrimination and inequality".

"We note that the commended UK legislation and policy to tackle direct and indirect racial discrimination, and that in her end of mission statement she welcomed the Race Disparity Audit as 'a remarkable step towards transforming formal commitments to racial equality into reality', a said.

"We have made great progress, but the is clear that if there is no rational explanation for ethnic disparities, then we as a society must take action to change them. That is precisely what we will do," the said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, May 12 2018. 18:10 IST
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