Submission to the un committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination with regard to the uk government’s 21

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5 – Article 6 91

5.1. Access to Justice 91

5.1.1. Cuts to legal aid and introduction of employment tribunal fees 91

5.1.2. Repeal of statutory questionnaire procedure 93

5.2. Role of EHRC 93

6 – Article 14 96

6.1. Right to individual petition 96

Appendix – Signatories to this report 97

This report provides a civil society perspective in response to the UK Government’s 21st to 23rd periodic reports to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) and on the situation of racism in the UK. It has been drafted by the Runnymede Trust1, following consultation meetings in 5 UK cities2 with a total of around 70 Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) working to promote race equality and human rights. Runnymede also issues a call for evidence to provide further expertise and opinion.

We welcome the opportunity to make this submission to the Committee in advance of its examination of the UK’s compliance with the International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) in August 2016. With this report, we seek to work constructively with CERD and the UK Government in order to move closer to turning the rights provided for in the Convention into a reality for the UK’s Black and minority ethnic (BME) communities.
This report highlights in particular those areas where NGOs consider the UK Government to be in breach of the various articles of ICERD. We welcome the publication of the UK Government’s 21st to 23rd periodic reports in March 2015. However we would like to point out that since their publication, a general election was held in May 2015, which led to a change in Government from a coalition of the Conservative and the Liberal Democrat parties to a majority Conservative Government. As a result, the Government periodic reports do not include new policies and legislation initiated by the present Government. Some of these are particularly relevant to the UK’s compliance with ICERD and are discussed in our report.
In addition, since the beginning of drafting of the present report, the Prime Minister has announced specific action to target racial inequalities and underrepresentation experienced by Black and minority ethnic (BME) communities, in particular in employment and universities as well as the police and the armed forces. He further announced the establishment of a review looking at racial bias and BME representation in the criminal justice system, to be headed by David Lammy MP.3 We welcome these announcements and wait to see how they might lead to concrete actions and outcomes.
These latest developments highlight the continuing evolution of policy relevant to race equality in the UK taking place during the drafting of this report; nevertheless every effort has been made to be as accurate and up to date as possible as at 31 March 2016.

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