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New investigation into racist hate crime in Northern Ireland

15 Oct 2013

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission today published an investigation into racist hate crime in Northern Ireland. “Racist Hate Crime: Human Rights and the Criminal Justice System in Northern Ireland” will be launched today by Justice Minister David Ford.
Publication comes just days after reports of yet another hate crime in Northern Ireland.
Professor Michael O’Flaherty’ Chief Commissioner of the NIHRC’ said: “Throughout our investigation we have heard the traumatic impact that hate crime can have on victims. Victims have told us how they’ve become afraid to leave their homes and how they’ve felt pressure to move out of their neighbourhoods. Attacks such as these have no place in our society.”
The Commission made 29 recommendations to the Minister and criminal justice agencies. In many cases it has found that racist hate crimes were not correctly identified by criminal justice agencies’ and as a consequence many were not progressed through the justice system.
Professor O’Flaherty added: “Our society needs to tackle racism as a matter of law’ policy and practice. The Commission will continue to work collaboratively with criminal justice agencies to ensure that hate crime is dealt with effectively – in a way which ensures that practice is human rights compliant and victim-centred.”
Further information:
The findings and recommendations in the report are presented in discharge of the NIHRC’s statutory duties’ which include a requirement to review the adequacy and effectiveness of law and practice relating to the protection of human rights in Northern Ireland.
Fieldwork was completed between August 2012 and February 2013. It comprised a total of 139 interviews conducted with 145 representatives across each of the relevant criminal justice agencies’ NGOs and victims. In addition to the formal interviews’ meetings were also held with senior personnel responsible for policy development within the OFMdFM’ the DoJ’ the PSNI’ the PPS’ the NICTS and the PBNI. The NIHRC also accessed 120 criminal justice agencies’ files.
The report comprises 66 findings and 29 recommendations.
The investigation launch will take place between 1.30 and 3.30pm on Tuesday 15th October at Stormont.
For further information please contact Alice Neeson on:’ (028) 9024 3987 (office)’ 0771 7731873 (mobile).

Notes to editors

  1. 1.The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission is an independent statutory body first proposed in the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement (1998) and established in 1999 by the Northern Ireland Act (1998). It is answerable to Parliament at Westminster.
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