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Proposed Amendment to Race Relations Order 1997

6 December, 2007

Sinn Féin deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness MP MLA and the First Minister announced today that they intend to make an amendment to the Race Relations Order 1997.

Announcing this the Ministers said that over the past few months they had made clear their opposition to racism and prejudice.

The Ministers are fully implementing the European Commission's 'Race Directive' where the Commission has set a deadline of week beginning 14 January 2008 for these amendments to be in place. The European Commission had taken the view that the implementing measures taken under direct rule had not implemented the Directive fully.

Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, MP MLA said:

"It is intended that the amendment will be forwarded to the Assembly where it will subject to the negative resolution procedure. It is proposed that the amendment will come into operation during week beginning 14 January 2008 and we are confident that it will help reinforce the fight against racism and prejudice." ENDS


The Race Relations Order 1997 makes provisions with respect to discrimination on racial grounds. The Order was amended by the Race Relations Order (Amendment) Regulations 2003 to give effect to the European Union Race Directive - 2000/43/EC (of 29 June 2000) implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin.

In response to the European Commission's Reasoned Opinion 2005/23632 Ministers now propose an amendment that will be in operation by week beginning 14 January 2008. The amendment will ensure: the definition of indirect discrimination in the Race Relations Order 1997 fully reflects that defined in Article 2(2)(b) of the Race Directive and the notion of 'instructions to discriminate' contained in the Order is also defined fully and clearly.

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