There has been a call for Ireland to take action on racism by the introduction of hate crime legislation and migrant integration strategy by introducing stronger protection for victims and by developing a strategy to prevent discrimination and promote integration in Ireland, says Doras Luimní.
Ireland is one of the only EU countries with no hate crime legislation, which means that crimes with a hate motive, such as racially- motivated crimes, are not reported or prosecuted as such which is why there is a demand for Ireland to take action on racism. A campaign by the European Network Against Racism (ENAR) in Ireland, of which Doras Luimní are members, is calling on the new Government to endorse the Criminal Law (Hate Crime) Bill that was drafted by the Hate and Hostility Research Group in the University of Limerick.
Leonie Kerins, Director of Doras Luimní said “When a crime has a racist motive, the long-term damage and psychological impact that this has on an individual is very severe. Introducing specific provisions that recognise the gravity of the crime and the impact on the victim is urgently needed. This would send a strong message to perpetrators, victims and the general public that racially-motivated crimes are taken seriously in Ireland.”
Kerins added “Ireland’s framework for reporting racism is hugely inadequate and does not accurately reflect the scale of the problem and the number of incidents of racism occurring. In December 2015, the Gardaí introduced the option to record hate and racism on the PULSE recording system. This is a very positive development and we hope it’s a step towards introducing legislation and sentencing guidelines for racially-motivated crimes in the very near future, bringing Ireland in-line with its European and international obligations.”
“Given the recent surge in negative attitudes and the racist backlash evident across Europe since the escalation of the refugee crisis in particular, stronger protection for victims of racism is needed now more than ever. We have witnessed an increase in racist incident reporting here in Limerick over the past few months, in line with national trends. We urge the new Government to acknowledge this issue and to address racism effectively by introducing legislation and publishing a national integration strategy to prevent further escalation of these issues.”
Each year, 21st March is dedicated to marking International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. It is an opportunity to celebrate diversity, to recognise the challenges regarding racism and discrimination in our society and to reaffirm Ireland’s commitment to equality for all.
This year, Doras Luimní calls on the Government to address the challenges in Ireland by introducing hate crime legislation and publishing a migrant integration strategy. If you would like to help us spread the word. The petition will be delivered to the Minister of Justice on 21st March 2016.
You can sign and share the ENAR Ireland petition on the national campaigning website here
Check out the Doras Lumni site here
Read more on the I Love Limerick site here