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EU Referendum

30 June 2016


It is deeply worrying and regrettable to see a rise of hate crime in Britain following the referendum last week. While raising concerns about the economic impact of immigration can be reasonable, too much of the campaign was on based on irresponsible and untrue claims that appealed to people's basest prejudices. We must always work together against messages of fear and division, but we must also recognize that Britain's Black and minority ethnic people and migrants bear the brunt of the rise in intolerance and racist violence.

Hate crime was already running at unacceptably high levels before the EU referendum - over 52,000, 82% of which were race hate crimes. Race attacks are also significantly under-reported. The Crime Survey of England and Wales highlighted that 43% of personal hate crimes were not reported to the police. Black and minority ethnic communities might be reluctant to report hate crime because of lack of trust in the police and justice system, confusion surrounding the process, and feeling desensitised to harassment.

Politicians, in particular, must do more not simply to stand up to racism, but to celebrate and welcome the contribution that immigrants and their descendants have made to Britain throughout its history. We call on political parties to enshrine their commitment to reject all campaigning and slogans which risk inflaming racial tensions in elections and referendum.