Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Sinn Féin launches anti-racism Charter

15 April, 2005

Sinn Féin South Belfast Westminster candidate Cllr Alex Maskey MLA speaking at the launch of Sinn Féin's anti-racism Charter has said that totally commitment to tackling racism and challenged all of the other political parties to rise the challenge of not just speaking out against racism but also to stand together against racism and act against racism.

Speaking from South Belfast former Belfast mayor Mr Maskey said:

"In recent times there has been a marked increase in the volume of racially motivated attacks, particularly here in Belfast and in parts of Upper Bann. Those of us in political leadership have a responsibility to challenge this directly.

"This charter does not pretend to be a solution to these attacks or this activity. But we hope that it can become part of a political response to the upsurge in racism. It is our pledge to take action to confront racism and our commitment to specific principles of good practice. Hopefully its sets a benchmark for all of the other political parties to rise the challenge of not just speaking out against racism but also to stand together against racism and act against racism.

"Political parties have to make it clear that there is no place in our society for the sort of racism and intolerance which has sadly been on the increase.

"The Good Friday Agreement is about creating a tolerant and peaceful society, not simply for nationalists, republicans, unionists or loyalists but for all who live here.

"Sinn Féin will continue to meet with and engage with ethnic minority communities across the island and we will continue to confront and challenge racism from whatever quarter." ENDS

Note to Editors

Sinn Féin anti-racist pledge

Having regard to the ratified international human rights instruments, in particular the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination,

Sinn Féin pledge to uphold article 1, which defines racial discrimination as "any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise on an equal footing of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural of any other field of public life'.

Sinn Féin pledge to uphold the Treaty of Amsterdam which enables the European Community to "take appropriate action to combat discrimination based on ... racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief".

Sinn Féin pledge to recognise that the fundamental rights as enshrined in the international human rights instruments signed and ratified by the EU member states include the right to free and uninhibited political speech and debate.

Sinn Féin pledge to ensure that these international human rights instruments ensure that political freedoms are not absolute in view of the equally fundamental right to be protected against racial discrimination and that political freedoms cannot be allowed to be abused to exploit, cause or initiate prejudice on the grounds of race, colour, ethnic origin or nationality or for the purpose of seeking to gain the sympathy of the electorate for prejudice on such grounds.

Sinn Féin pledge that being aware of the special tasks and responsibilities of political parties in a democratic political process, to defend, articulate and bear witness to the basic principles of a democratic society; a platform for discussion on issues where there may be differences of opinion, integrating different views into the process of political decision making, thereby enabling society to solve conflicts of interest and of opinion between various social groups through dialogue rather than through opting out and conflict.

Sinn Féin pledge to ensure that free use of political rights can and must go hand in hand with firmly upholding the principle of non-discrimination and is inherent in the democratic process itself.

Sinn Féin pledge to ensure that representation of ethnic minority groups in the political process is properly an integral part of the democratic process, since political parties are or should strive to be a reflection of society.

Sinn Féin commit to specific principles of good practice:

  • To defend basic human rights and democratic principles and reject all forms of racist violence, incitement to racial hatred and harassment and any form of racial discrimination.
  • To refuse to display, publish or to distribute or endorse in any way views and positions which stir up or invite, or may reasonable be expected to stir up or to invite prejudices, hostility or division between people of different ethnic or national origins or religious beliefs, and to deal firmly with any racist sentiments and behavior within its own ranks.
  • To deal responsibly and fairly with sensitive topics relating to such groups and to avoid their stigmatisation.
  • To refrain from any form of political alliance or cooperation at all levels with any political party, which incites or attempts to stir up racial or ethnic prejudices and racial hatred.
  • To take appropriate action to ensure that all persons who work for or associate themselves in any way with any of our election campaigns or other activities will be aware of and at all times act in accordance with the above principles.

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