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A UN report finds Britain to be riddled with racism

Racism is systemic in England, according to a report being submitted to the United Nations.

The Runnymede Trust’s report took aim at the recent government-commissioned race review, which found that Britain no longer had a system “deliberately rigged” against ethnic minorities.

The report, for which the trust consulted more than 100 civil society organisations, will be submitted to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. It argued that the review’s finding was misleading and said that the plight of ethnic minority communities had worsened in the past five years.

It said the government was in breach of numerous articles of the UN treaty the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, failing to uphold ethnic minority people’s economic, civil, social and political rights.

The government is required to submit regular reports to the UN committee, which monitors adherence to the treaty. These are accompanied by shadow reports from civil society groups, which together are used by the UN to assess progress on racial equality. The government did not submit a report last year because of the pandemic.

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The latest shadow civil society report, produced by the Runnymede with funding from the Equality and Human Rights Commission, found that ethnic minority groups faced sustained disparities across health, the criminal justice system, education, employment, immigration and politics.

It follows the publication in March of a separate report by the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, set up by Downing Street. The commission found that “geography, family influence, socioeconomic background, culture and religion have more significant impact on life chances than the existence of racism”.

A government spokesman said: “The Runnymede Trust’s shadow report contains many errors and is too simplistic in saying that structural or systemic racism is driving all the disparities outlined in their report.”

The Runnymede said: “The independent report clearly finds that racism is systemic in England and that evidence exists for institutional racism in the disproportionate outcomes which cannot all be explained by geography and class. We hope the government does not see this as a confrontation but as the basis of a dialogue on racism.”

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