Tackling racial discrimination
Race Equality Action Plan
The Race Equality Framework for Scotland (REF) sets out the Scottish Government’s approach to promoting race equality and tackling racism and inequality between 2016 and 2030. In December 2017, the Scottish Government published a Race Equality Action Plan, which sets out actions to drive positive change for minority ethnic communities. Throughout 2017, REF-themed roundtables on housing, participation & representation, and community cohesion & safety were held, involving policy officials and experts from statutory and third sector organisations and from academia. Further roundtables on employment, education and health will be held in 2019, along with an employment summit that will include issues on race equality.
Minority Ethnic Women
A minority ethnic women’s network has been established for mentoring, peer support, capacity building, training, and influencing workforce/workplace policies and practices – such as increasing the number of minority ethnic women in senior management roles within the public sector. A number of network meetings were held in 2017 and 2018, and an Advisory Forum (the working group) has been set up to develop a structure that will ensure representation from the diverse communities and across all geographical regions of Scotland. Currently 300 women are part of the network and over 20 women are part of the Advisory Forum. Network members are not only ethnically diverse but also diverse in terms of skills, experience, and knowledge, with a mixture of professional and individual women with different needs.
Minority Ethnic Young People
The Scottish Government commissioned Young Scot to co-design the Fairer Future project, which is a panel of 16 young people aged 14-21 exploring (among other topics) the six core REF themes. Following an event involving young people, youth organisations, minority ethnic organisations and relevant policy makers in June 2017, the Creating a Fairer Future report was published in November 2017. A second panel of young people has been recruited and is working with the Scottish Government Equality Unit to take forward the recommendations made by the group in phase one.
Hate crime and hate speech
In January 2017 Scottish Ministers appointed Lord Bracadale to undertake a review of hate crime legislation in Scotland and he published his report on 31 May 2018. The Scottish Government welcomes Lord Bracadale’s report and accepts the recommendation to consolidate all Scottish hate crime legislation into one new hate crime statute. The report and recommendations will be used as the basis for consultation on the detail of what should be included in a new hate crime bill. All concerns will be listened to – updated hate crime legislation must balance protections required with human rights, freedom of speech and civil liberties.
The Scottish Government recognises that legislation in and of itself is not enough to build an inclusive and equal society, however it forms the basis of understanding what is not acceptable in society. In June 2017, the Scottish Government published its Tacking Prejudice and Building Connected Communities Action Plan, an ambitious programme of work to tackle hate crime and build community cohesion, and established an Action Group, chaired by the Cabinet Secretary for Communities, with key stakeholders to take this work forward.
Email: David Holmes