20/03/2014 LONDONERS concerned about racism in the capital should vote for progressive candidates in May’s European Election to ensure funding for the EU’s vital anti-racist work continues.
So will say the Vice President of the European Parliament’s cross-party ‘Intergroup on Anti-Racism and Diversity’, London’s Green Party MEP Jean Lambert, speaking before a ‘Question Time’ style debate in the capital organised by UKREN – the UK Race and Europe Network, an ‘umbrella’ group representing 160 community and race equality organisations from across the UK.
“The Green Party is deeply committed to equality and the struggle against racism ,xenophobia and anti-semitism, and this is carried into our work in the European Parliament,” she said, speaking before the event.
Ms Lambert added: “As Vice-President of the Intergroup on Anti-Racism and Diversity, I am mindful that racism, particularly Islamophobia, is on the rise across Europe – and that we need to adopt international strategies and legislation, backed financially, to make a zero-tolerance approach a reality.
“Yes, this is about education and awareness – and events like this, tomorrow’s rally, and even the recent ‘Afrophobia’ conference in Brussels organised by the Greens can help – but it is also about making sure victims of racism can seek redress and that concerns investigated – and ensuring there is no place for racism in society, especially in policing or public life: and this needs funding and commitment. Cuts to the budgets of the Equality bodies, such as in the UK, make it more difficult for people to understand their entitlements and enforce their rights.
“But there is a real risk that more right-wingers and xenophobic politicians who won’t back this work could be elected to the European Parliament than ever before. We must make sure that doesn’t happen, and that means registering to vote, and using it to return progressive candidates who are committed to equalities to Brussels.”
She will make her comments at the debate, which will concentrate on the main parties’ race equality and immigration policies, alongside Annesley Abercorn (Conservative), Anuja Prashar (Lib Dem) and Kamaljeet Jandu (Labour), tomorrow (Friday, March 21). The event is being held on UN Day against Racism, which is being marked by a Trafalgar Square ‘Stand up to Racism’ rally on Saturday 22nd March at which Jean is due to speak.