Migrants protest on Parliament Square in central London, Britain, 17 February 2018. Migrants from all walks of life joined together for the One Day Without Us campaign. Photo: EPA/ANDY RAIN
Migrants protest on Parliament Square in central London, Britain, 17 February 2018. Migrants from all walks of life joined together for the One Day Without Us campaign. Photo: EPA/ANDY RAIN

During a recent visit to Great Britain, a UN expert expressed concern for the country's immigration and anti-terrorism policies that could contribute to discrimination against ethnic minorities.

The United Nations official rapporteur on race discrimination, E. Tendayi Achiume, has praised the British government for its policies against racism. However, she has also urged authorities to take further action to end discrimination, expressing concern for the government's policies on immigration, anti-terrorism and hate crimes and Brexit's impact on immigration. 


Criminalization of minorities in Britain 

According to a statement by the Office of the UN Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Achiume stressed her concern over extensive discrimination against ethnic minorities in the UK. ''I am shocked by the criminalization of youths from ethnic minorities," she said at the end of the visit. Achiume cited young black men in particular, and said they were ''overrepresented'' in police checks as well as in the jail system. 

Achiume said she was informed of the '"gang matrix" database on which surveillance operations are based, mainly targeting blacks who are listed as potential violent criminals. 

Concern over hate speech 

The UN rapporteur expressed alarm over the significant rise in hate crimes and incidents in Britain's post-Brexit era. However, she also reported the extensive fight against hate speech and promotion of integration strategies across the country. Achiume also voiced concern for the normalization of hate speeches among high-ranking officials. 

The OHCHR stressed that the rhetoric against immigrants and foreigners that first emerged during the campaign in favor of Brexit has developed in British society. The UN rapporteur, while recognizing each State's right and duty to adopt the necessary measures to protect the population from violent extremism, criticized the UK's anti-terror Prevent program which she said contributed to a climate under which ''entire religious, racial and ethnic groups are presumed to be enemies." 

Finally, Achiume warned that immigration policies in Britain are deeply connected to racial equality and that the British government needs to take this connection seriously. 
 

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