The Black and Minority Ethnic Voluntary and Community Sector Coalition deplore the likely decision to axe two key race equality experts from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). Simon Woolley and Baroness Meral Hussein-Ece had to re-apply for their positions but have not been selected for interview as board commissioners. These two commissioners have long track records of tackling racism and promoting race relations.
This symbolises a reinforcement of the race policy cleansing of the Coalition Government. It has so far refused to have a specific race equality strategy and is clawing back the Equality Act requirements to monitor for race inequality in 40,000 public authorities. The government seems to think race equality is not important even though there are huge racial differentials in almost every socio-economic area including unemployment, education, low income and poverty. Hate crime against Muslims and Minority communities persists as a blight on British values.
Simon Woolley has led Operation Black Vote for many years and has campaigned over decades for race equality. He has protested about the disproportionate impact of EHRC budget cuts on the organisation’s Black staff. Lady Hussein-Ece, used to lead the Ethnic Minority Liberal Democrats and has a lifelong record of campaigning for better race relations.
We are calling for race equality organisations and those who value race equality to express concerns directly to the Government. We need EHRC commissioners who understand and have a track record of working on issues of race equality, we need a government that supports the aim of race equality with action and resources.
At the very least commissioners should be appointed who have the confidence of minority ethnic communities and ideally Simon Woolley and Baroness Meral Hussein-Ece should be interviewed and given clear written reasons for the ensuing decision.
MENTER (Black and Minority Ethnic Network) (East of England)
Notes to editors:
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