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Get involved

What is Runnymede doing?

Runnymede is coordinating the input of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) into the UK Government’s upcoming examination by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD).

CERD, the UN body that focuses on race, will be examining the UK Government in August 2011, and Runnymede will be putting together a report on racial discrimination in the UK, which will make recommendations on issues CERD should raise with the government.

We are keen to ensure that this project reflects the concerns of UK race equality organisations, so we would like as many people as possible to take advantage of this opportunity to feed their views to the UN and have a say on the UK Government’s race equality policies. 

Read the report submitted to CERD in July 2011 by the UK NGOs Against Racism, the group of organisations who contributed to this project. This report is a compilation of efforts from a broad range of non-governmental organisations, and we hope it reflects a collective vision of race equality and human rights in the UK.

 

What is the timeline for this project?

Our Tell the World project includes the following phases:

Phase 1: December/January - Produce publication on CERD with the Equality and Human Rights Commission

Phase 2: February/March – Consultation events with NGOs across the UK

Phase 3: April/May – Collate information and draft shadow report

Phase 4: June/July - Open report for consultation, finalise report and plan trip to Geneva. Read the final NGO report here

Phase 5: August/September – CERD hearing in Geneva, debrief seminar in UK

The dates of CERD’s examination of the UK will be Tuesday 23rd August and Wednesday 24th August 2011.

 

What can you do?

Take part in one of our UK wide consultation events

Unfortunately all the consultation events have now taken place. In partnership with regional race equality organisations, Runnymede held a series of NGO consultation events in early 2011 across the UK to give NGOs the opportunity to have their say on the government’s race equality policies. The consultation meetings took place in Leeds, Glasgow, London, Birmingham and Cardiff and included an information session on the CERD process and discussions on racial discrimination issues relating to CERD. But you haven’t missed your chance to get involved – read on for more ways you can get take part in this project…

 

Contribute to our shadow report

Together with a group of other race equality organisations, Runnymede will be putting together a collaboratively produced shadow report reflecting the key concerns raised in the consultations we held earlier this year. This report will provide CERD members with a broader picture on the progress and setbacks in the area of racial discrimination since the last examination of the UK.

For CERD, it is useful to hear an alternative view that makes concrete suggestions on recommendations it can then pass on to the UK government. As for NGOs, it represents a useful way to channel our demands to decision-makers

We are encouraging organisations working in race equality to get in contact if they would like a specific issue to be included in the report. Please contact Klara Schmitz if would like to submit some information on the particular area in which you work, such as useful report, data or case studies.

From mid to late June a draft of the shadow report will be open for consultation, so if you are interested in reading this and providing your feedback, do get in contact with Klara Schmitz

Read the report submitted to CERD in July 2011 by the UK NGOs Against Racism, the group of organisations who contributed to this project. This report is a compilation of efforts from a broad range of non-governmental organisations, and we hope it reflects a collective vision of race equality and human rights in the UK.

 

Submit information to CERD

NGOs can also make their own submissions directly to CERD. CERD welcomes reliable information which provides an alternative view to the government’s account of the situation in the country concerned. If you wish to do this, the deadline for submissions to CERD is 22 July 2011. CERD requires that you firstly make your submissions electronically by email and secondly send 24 copies by post. This is because for everyone in the committee to read the information, each member needs to have a copy, and they do not photocopy NGO information.

 

Contact details for the CERD secretariat:

E-mail of the Secretariat:

Gabriella Habtom, CERD Secretary, ghabtom@ohchr.org

or

Chedra Bullock, CERD Administrative Assistant, cbullock@ohchr.org

Postal address of the Secretariat:

CERD Secretariat

8-14 Avenue de la Paix

CH 1211 Geneva 10

Switzerland

For more information, please see the NGO Information Note produced by the CERD secretariat.

 

Attend the hearing in Geneva

The dates of CERD’s examination of the UK will be Tuesday 23rd August and Wednesday 24th August 2011. For NGOs who are able to secure funding to do so, it’s a good opportunity to go to Geneva at the time of the hearing in August. Before the examination takes place, NGOs are able to present their shadow reports to CERD during a designated meeting with CERD members, during which NGOs can influence the themes that are covered by putting forward recommendations on specific issues which the committee should raise with the government.  NGOs are also allowed to be present at the hearing itself, although they may not ask questions.

The main difficulty for NGOs in getting to Geneva is the cost implications involved, as it involves having to pay for travel and accommodation. We estimate that the total package cost of covering one person for the Geneva trip, including travel, accommodation and subsistence costs is around £800 per person.

A representative from Runnymede will be going to Geneva in August as part of a delegation of other NGOs representing range of areas of expertise and geographical areas of the UK.

 

What happened last time NGOs got involved?

A group of race equality organisations got together to draft a shadow report ahead of the  UK hearing. A delegation went to Geneva and presented the shadow report to Committee members during an informal briefing session just before the session with the UK government. The delegation highlighted the key questions which they encouraged the CERD to ask the UK Government. This process proved very successful: committee members picked up on most of the questions that were suggested and at times directly quoted from the shadow report. Indeed many of the recommendations CERD made to the government echoed the concerns raised in the 2003 NGO shadow report. The successful input of race equality organisations to CERD’s previous examination of the UK in 2003 demonstrates how NGOs can have a real impact.

 

Beyond CERD, why is this a useful exercise for race equality organisations?

In addition to the positive impact NGOs can have on the actual CERD process, it is important to remember that getting involved in this project is a useful exercise in itself.

Firstly, consulting over 130 organisations involved in combating racial discrimination has been a valuable way to take stock of the key issues BME communities are facing and the challenges that the current climate presents. The resulting collaboratively produced shadow report on racial discrimination can be used as an advocacy document and is a useful record to have of the state of race equality in the UK today.

Secondly, we can harness the outcome of the CERD examination, by using the recommendations that CERD makes to the government in its concluding observations. The government does not like being criticised by a UN body, so to have a list of actions CERD thinks the government needs to take to in order to further race equality in the UK is a powerful tool that we can use to effect change and hold the government to account.

Thirdly, this process is a valuable way for NGOs to channel their demands to decision- makers. It is important for race equality organisations to act at an international level and make themselves part of this attempt to bring institutional mechanisms closer to the community

 

For more information on how to get involved in the CERD process, please contact Klara Schmitz