Key Role for the Equality Authority in Asserting the Rights of Black and Minority Ethnic Groups

True Colours is a two week programme of events organised by the National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism focusing on how Irish society can be more inclusive of ethnic minorities including Travellers, Refugees and Asylum Seekers. The aims of the two weeks are to highlight the challenge of cultural diversity into the new millennium, identify some of the steps needed for building a more inclusive, intercultural society and address issues such as racism and discrimination experienced by ethnic minorities in Ireland.

Today, as part of the programme, the Equality Authority hosted a symposium entitled “How can Equality legislation address the situation of Black and Minority Ethnic Groups”. Carol Ann Edwards, solicitor in the Equality Authority, referred to the discrimination experienced by Black and Minority Ethnic Groups in their daily lives -in the workplace and in the provision of goods and supply of services. A core duty of the Equality Authority will be to eliminate discrimination and it will provide the means, whereby minority groups in Irish society have a knowledge of their rights and a confidence to assert these rights. ” Equality legislation in the form of the present Employment Equality Act and the Equal Status Bill will address the situation of Black and Minority Ethnic Groups”, stated Ms Edwards. This new equality infrastructure, “will pave the way for an equality conscious and equality based society in Ireland,” concluded Ms. Edwards.