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Rights Agency Report highlights need for robust hate crime law in Ireland

28 April, 2016 - by Martina Anderson MEP

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has called for the introduction of robust hate crime legislation following publication today of a report by the Fundamental Rights Agency.

Speaking from Brussels, Martina Anderson MEP said;

"Today's report published by the Fundamental Rights Agency focused on the impact of hate crime on victims and its perception in wider society.

"It is alarming to see a number of the recommendations or short fallings have specific relevance to Ireland such as that the failure to accurately define hate crimes increases the risk of authorities overlooking bias motives. The report states that criminal law should reflect the difference between offences that also violate an individual's right not to be discriminated against.

"It is in this context that Ireland's lack of legislation requiring the criminal justice system to take bias motivation into account becomes indefensible.

A member of the European Parliament's committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, Martina Anderson continued;

"I, along with my Sinn Féin colleague Lynn Boylan MEP, recently submitted a written question to the European Commission. We asked if they believed Ireland needed to introduce legislation which specifically defines hate crimes based on race as distinct offences in order to comply with the Council Framework Decision on combatting forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia.

I believe the findings of the Fundamental Rights Agency may have answered that question.

"Sinn Féin remains fully committed to equality for all. We oppose any form of racism, sectarianism or discrimination. Our record in local government, the Assembly, the Executive, Leinster House and Europe proves our commitment to equality. We will continue to promote human rights and equality in everything we do. It is in this vain that we call on whichever Irish government is formed to immediately address this abhorrent short falling in hate crime legislation.

“We also call for harmonisation of all hate crime legislation north and south.”

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