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Lynn Boylan MEP urges people to observe International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

20 March, 2015 - by Senator Lynn Boylan

Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has called on citizens to support International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, this Saturday the 21st of March.

The annualevent was proclaimed by the United Nations in response to the murder of 69 anti-apartheid demonstrators in Sharpeville, South Africa, in 1960.

Speaking today Ms. Boylan said:

“Unfortunately racism is still a huge societal issue.

“We see media reports on a daily basis detailing racist incidents on our streets.

“This day and the subsequent European week against Racism serves as a reminder that while the apartheid regime in South Africa has fallen, the issue of racism has not gone away.

In fact the rising tide of Islamophobia is now also a twin concern.

Recent attacks by ISIS, the attacks in Paris and alarming rise of far right parties across Europe act as catalysts to this.

We must act to counteract this sentiment and invest in education and in disseminating information that can help to overcome prejudice and avert conflict.

Unfortunately new report by the European Network against Racism (Ireland) (ENAR) states that over a six month period in 2014 ENAR received reports of 182 incidents of racist abuse. These incidents vary from the use of racist language, to arson, to the assault of a traveller child.

None of this behaviour has a place in our society. So what better way for citizens in this state to demonstrate their opposition to any sort of racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia or sectarianism by observing a day aimed at raising awareness of these problems?

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