British government-backed report on racism “reprehensible”: UN experts

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FILE PHOTO - The Union Flag flies near the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain, June 7, 2017. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne/File Photo

GENEVA, April 19 (Xinhua) — A group of UN human rights experts on Monday strongly rejected a British government-backed report into racism and ethnic disparities in the country, saying the report further distorted and falsified historic facts, and could even fuel racism, racial discrimination and negative racial stereotypes.

In a statement issued Monday, the experts, including the five members of the UN Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent, condemned the report’s assertion that while there might be overt acts of racism in the UK, there was no institutional racism there.

“The report’s conclusion that racism is either a product of the imagination of people of African descent or of discrete, individualized incidents ignores the pervasive role that the social construction of race was designed to play in society, particularly in normalizing atrocity, in which the British state and institutions played a significant role,” the statement said.

The Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, set up by the British government after the Black Lives Matter anti-racism protests erupted last year, presented its report on March 31.

The UN experts pointed out that it is “stunning” to read such a report in the year 2021, arguing that the report cites dubious evidence to make claims that rationalize white supremacy by using familiar arguments that have always justified racial hierarchy.

“This attempt to normalize white supremacy despite considerable research and evidence of institutional racism is an unfortunate sidestepping of the opportunity to acknowledge the atrocities of the past and the contributions of all in order to move forward,” the statement said.

According to the experts, many previous studies and reports have all shown the damaging impact of institutional racism and deep-rooted inequities in areas such as health, education, employment, housing, stop-and-search practices, and the criminal justice system in the UK.

“The reality is that people of African descent continue to experience poor economic, social, and health outcomes at vastly disproportionate rates in the UK,” the experts said in the statement.

“The suggestion that family structure, rather than institutionalized and structural discriminatory practices, are the central features of the Black experience is a tone-deaf attempt at rejecting the lived realities of people of African descent and other ethnic minorities in the UK,” they added.

The Working Group urged the British government to categorically reject the findings of the report, given its own acknowledgement of institutional racism in recent years. Enditem