CAJ welcomes the opportunity to submit this report on the UK’s compliance with the International Convention on all forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD). This submission will focus on five issues in relation to Northern Ireland, in summary:
- Implications of UK exit from the EU the risks of racial profiling within the (UKIreland) Common Travel Area (Arts. 2 & 5, GR 31) CAJ is concerned that following the UK decision to leave the EU (in which Ireland remains) there will be increased ‘ad hoc’ immigration checks on the land border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and on internal journeys between Northern Ireland and Great Britain which will target perceived non-British and Irish citizens on the basis of racial profiling.
- Paramilitary racist violence and intimidation in Northern Ireland (Arts 2, 4, 5, 6 GR15) CAJ is concerned at the involvement of loyalist paramilitaries in far-right racist attacks, at the state response, and the general increase in racist attacks since the EU referendum. We urge that the state party ensure the new Independent Reporting Commission set up by the British and Irish governments to monitor paramilitary activity includes racist activity within its remit; further controls to prevent police informants in paramilitary groups being involved in racist attacks and reform of the state response to racist intimidation from housing.
- Incitement to Hatred legislation in Northern Ireland (Art. 4) CAJ is concerned that the present legislation in Northern Ireland outlawing incitement to hatred falls short of the requirements of Article 4 ICERD and has led to only one sole conviction since it was enacted in 1987. We urge a review of the legislation by the Northern Ireland Department of Justice.
- Northern Ireland Stop and Search Powers: ethnic monitoring (Arts 2,5 GR 31) CAJ is concerned that Northern Ireland remains the only place in the UK where ethnic monitoring of stop and search powers is not mandatory.
- Definition of sectarianism in Northern Ireland (Arts. 2&4) CAJ is concerned that despite the recognition by the Committee, its Council of Europe counterpart and the NHRI that sectarianism in Northern Ireland be treated as a form of racism, a commitment to define sectarianism in legislation and implement the Committee’s previous recommendations, have not been taken forward.