UK has seen ‘Brexit-related’ growth in racism, says UN representative

Brexit has contributed to an environment of increased racial discrimination and intolerance, the UN special rapporteur on racism has said, as she identified a range of institutional prejudices that plague the lives of ethnic minorities in Britain.

Speaking at the end of her mission to the UK, Prof Tendayi Achiume pointed to a Brexit-related growth in “explicit racial, ethnic and religious intolerance”, including extreme views that have gained ground in mainstream political parties of the left and the right.

“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,” she said.

Achiume, from Zambia, was appointed the UN’s special rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance in September 2017. A professor of law at University of California, Los Angeles, she is the first woman and the first person from southern Africa to fill the role.

“The discourses on racial equality before, during and after the 2016 referendum, as well as the policies and practices upon which the Brexit debate has conferred legitimacy, raise serious issues at the core of my mandate,” she said.



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