“I believe that Mela shows the true face of Northern Ireland,” Deputy Commissioner Jane Morrice said. “One which welcomes all the people who come here, enjoys different cultures and accepts in friendship people of all races and nationalities, as we expect to be welcomed when we travel to other countries for work or leisure.”
The Equality Commission will be joining thousands of people at Belfast Mela in Botanic Gardens, Belfast, on Sunday 24th August.
“The Commission will be at Mela to celebrate, embrace and respect the many different nationalities and cultures who bring so much to life in Northern Ireland,” Jane Morrice, Deputy Chief Commissioner of the Equality Commission said. “One of our key aims is to let people know that racial equality law is here to tackle prejudice and protect them if they experience discrimination.”
“In recent months we have seen some appalling expressions of prejudice and unlawful behaviour in Northern Ireland. Negative attitudes have translated into attacks on families, homes and communities. This can ruin lives, harm us as a society at home and impact on our reputation abroad.”
“Changing the prejudiced behaviours which lead to unlawful discrimination is a core challenge for all of us,” Ms. Morrice said. “Achieving change in our society requires a commitment from everyone – the Executive, government departments, employers, service providers, representative groups, the media and ourselves as individuals.”
“As a society we need to be able to name prejudice and discrimination when we find it, without fear of intimidation or reprisal. If people have a greater awareness of the legal protection for victims of racial prejudice they may be encouraged to be more forthright in challenging such behaviour and more likely to report racial incidents if they are subjected to them. There is a responsibility on all of us to make our voice heard within our own spheres of influence in rejecting the prejudice and hostility that can lead to discrimination, harassment and physical attacks.”
"I believe that Mela shows the true face of Northern Ireland,” Ms. Morrice said, “One which welcomes all the people who come here, enjoys different cultures and accepts in friendship people of all races and nationalities, as we expect to be welcomed when we travel to other countries for work or leisure.”