Lo calls for racial equality strategy

Lo calls for racial equality strategy

Assembly member Anna Lo has said the lack of a racial equality strategy has created a "vacuum for hate crimes to flourish" and called for Stormont to act on the delayed proposals.

The South Belfast MLA has also reiterated calls for Peter Robinson to make a public apology over his comments about Pastor James McConnell's anti-Islamic sermon and vowed to remain in Northern Ireland after earlier saying she was considering quitting the country.However, she has said her disillusionment with politics has played its part in her decision not to stand for re-election in 2016.She told UTV: "I was frustrated with the lack of progress in dealing with racist violence and attacks on ethnic minorities and the increase in racist incidents."On top of that I hear the anti-Muslim remarks of the preacher and politicians coming out in defence of him and was just so incensed with that."She went on: "The racial equality strategy was shelved in 2007 - it should not take seven years to publish a revised document."In the meantime a vacuum has been created that allows racism to flourish."Stormont needs to redouble its efforts in bringing about a racial equality strategy as soon as possible and to also provide adequate resourcing."It is so, so important."We need to address the misinformation and prejudice that exists."Racist attacks are happening on a daily basis and what is reported is only a fraction of what is happening.Anna LoThe Assembly member has said since she spoke out about her experiences of being racially abused she has been inundated with messages of support.She came out last week to say she was quitting politics and considering leaving the country over the abuse she had received.However, she has since reconsidered leaving, but pledged to step out of the public eye and won't be standing for re-election at the next Assembly vote.She said: "Northern Ireland is my home, I love the people and love living here."But I have been disillusioned with the lack of progress and the disagreement between the two main parties and feel it is time to step down and allow younger people with new ideas to come through."It is time for all the parties to stand together and work for the good of all the people of Northern Ireland."She also reiterated calls for Peter Robinson to make a public apology over his comments defending Pastor James McConnell."He owes it to all the people," she added.Amnesty International has also called for the racial equality strategy to be put out for public consultation.The Office of First and Deputy First Minister said: "The development of the draft consultation document for the racial equality strategy is near completion and the public consultation of the revised strategy will commence very shortly."

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