Framework Convention on the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM)
Equality Commission Recommendations
In our submission, we specifically focus on recommendations aligned to our remit, which have been identified by the Advisory Committee as the key topics for consideration in the UK fourth monitoring report. In our engagement with FCNM Committee members we highlighted the following priorities:
Law Reform: In the absence of single equality legislation, we recommend that a timetabled commitment is included in the Programme for Government for Northern Ireland to reform the racial equality and fair employment legislation to give effect to the published recommendations of the Equality Commission.
Specific commitments to tackle racism and address key inequalities: Given the considerable time elapsed since the end of the previous Racial Equality Strategy, we are keen to ensure the delivery of priority actions to tackle racism and address key inequalities. For this reason, we recommend that the NI Executive use the forthcoming PfG, and a racial equality strategy action plan, to set out specific, clear and time-bound commitments to advance racial equality.
Data collection and monitoring: Commission recommendation: We welcome OFMDFM’s intention to examine where monitoring should be introduced and consult on proposals for implementation. Given the importance of disaggregated data in establishing baselines and informing the development of evidence-based policies, we recommend priority action is taken to improve data collection / disaggregation; to ensure effective monitoring systems are in place; and that the aforementioned consultation proposals are published without delay.
FCNM Committee Recommendations
The Committee’s fourth report was published earlier this month (9th March 2017). The Commission appears to have had considerable success in terms of uptake of our recommendations. With regards to our three key policy priorities for FCNM (law reform; specific commitments to tackle racism and address key inequalities; ethnic monitoring) the FCNM Committee recommended:
Law Reform: In the absence of progress, the Northern Ireland Assembly should adopt robust and comprehensive single equality legislation or otherwise strengthen racial equality in Northern Ireland, and harmonise protection across the UK.)
Specific commitments to tackle racism and address key inequalities: The central and devolved authorities should ensure that policy documents such as integration and race strategies are complemented by appropriate action plans and adequate resources, to ensure effective access to rights for persons belonging to national and ethnic minorities, in particular as regards the Northern Ireland Racial Equality Strategy 2015-2025.
Data collection and monitoring: The authorities should prioritise integrating the collection of disaggregated equality data on the situation of persons belonging to national and ethnic minorities into the practices of all relevant departments and agencies in Northern Ireland as a means to adopting and implementing effective minority protection and equality promotion policies.
Engagement with the FCNM reporting process
In January 2016, the Commission made a written submission to with regard to the Advisory Committee’s consideration of the fourth monitoring report of the UK and, in March 2016, hosted the FCNM Committee during their visit to Belfast. Commission representatives met, and undertook follow-up activity with, FCNM Committee members to set out our key priorities for action.