Equality and Human Rights Commission report: ‘Race rights in the UK’

In July 2016, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) published Race rights in the UK. Submission to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in advance of the
public examination of the UK’s implementation of ICERD.

The report calls for a ‘full-scale review of Britain’s hate crime laws and strategies‘.

The Commission makes a series of recommendations to the UK government to tackle hate crime and lead a national effort to defeat those who seek to legitimise and spread hate.

Since the EU referendum, police have reported a 57% increase in online hate crime reports in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. In London alone new figures from the Metropolitan Police Service show 599 incidents of race hate crime were reported to Scotland Yard between 24 June – the day the result was announced – and 2 July 2016. Police Scotland has not recorded a corresponding rise in hate crimes in Scotland, though it acknowledges that often these incidents of hate crime go unreported.

Prime Minister David Cameron has promised a new action plan on tackling hate crime and the Commission is using its report to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination to call for early interventions and stronger deterrents to help heal racial divisions across the country and improve the lives of minority ethnic groups.

The report calls on the UK government to:

  • Carry out a full-scale review of the operation and effectiveness of the sentencing for hate crimes in England and Wales, including the ability to increase sentencing for crimes motivated by hate.
  • Provide stronger evidence to prove their hate crime strategies are working.
  • Work with criminal justice agencies to understand what drives perpetrators to commit hate crime and to use that evidence to develop new preventative measures.

As well as being more likely to be a victim of hate crime, the Commission’s assessment highlights how people from minority ethnic communities and migrants are much more likely to experience disadvantage in the criminal justice system, in an alarming ‘multiplier’ effect.