Institutional responses to racism in both Irelands

in Immigrants as outsiders in the two Irelands
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Legislation and state policies aimed at addressing racism have evolved differently in the two Irelands. In the Republic both grew out of anti-racist activism concerned since the 1980s with anti-Traveller prejudice and, as immigration rose, out of NGO pressure upon the Irish state to address its responsibilities under the UN Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. In Northern Ireland, legislative and institutional responses to racism were informed by UK practices, particularly as NGO advocates of anti-racism were influenced by mainland UK norms and debates. However, responses were later and weaker than elsewhere in the UK as gridlock in Northern Irish politics imposed limits on progressive social policy. This chapter traces the institutional failures to respond adequately to experiences of racism in both jurisdictions, the effectiveness of civil society responses to racism, and the leverage of international accountability to make progress. The chapter draws particular attention to the shape and strength of the NGO sector and its ability to effect change in the face of institutional resistance, as well as the impact of ‘hate crime’ frameworks.

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