Black information Link:

home campaigns act now policy & research press releases links subscribe contact us

black information link The 1990 Trust, human rights for race equality
The 1990 Trust's independent community website for black communities

2007 Bicentenary of Abolition
America at war
Armed Forces
Black Elders
Black Workers
Blink Interview
Civil Liberties
Crime & Policing
Human Rights
News Digest
Northern Ireland
Rural racism
Society & Environment
Stephen Lawrence
The 1990 Trust
UK regions

A funny kind of equality

by Shirin Aguiar-Holloway

THE GOVERNMENT conspired with opposition parties to throw out proposals to include a voice for Black communities in the new single equalities body.

Lord Ouseley
Disappointed: Lord Ouseley hopes the Commons will be more sympathetic to proposals for a race committee in the new Commission for Equality and Human Rights.

Amendments to create race committee as part of a new body merging several equalities areas were rejected in the House of Lords.

Former Commission for Racial Equality chairman Lord Ouseley and Lord Victor Adebowale put forward the changes arguing there should be a race committee as well as the proposed disability committee.

But the lord chancellor Lord Charlie Falconer, for the government, opposed the move along with Tory peers and Liberal Democrat Lord Anthony Lester.

Lord Ouseley told the upper house it was inconsistent to have committees for disabilities, Scotland and Wales but not for race and the other new equalities subjects covered by a new Commission for Equality and Human Rights (CEHR).

The move is a big setback for race campaigners concerned about the abolishment of the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE).


Lord Ouseley told Blink he and his colleagues didn't have a chance of success. He said: “The Government had already set its face against all of this.  It had decided what it wanted in the long term and there was a deal between the Lib Dems, Tories and the Government.

Shahid Malik
Shahid Malik MP: black communities have got to have confidence in the new body.

“This is how the Government behaves in the Lords, and we will have the same opposition in the Commons.”

Hopes are now pinned on MPs to rally support for the amendments in the House of Commons.

“The Lords have rejected it, so the battle goes to the Commons and hopefully the Commons will look at it more sympathetically, although I doubt it”, Lord Ouseley added.

Black-led human rights organisation The 1990 Trust carried out a widespread national consultation which found Black communities opposed to the abolishing of the CRE and wanting a race committee to replace it, as part of the CEHR.

The 1990 Trust chief executive Karen Chouhan said:  “I'm just disappointed that after such extensive consultation that the Trust carried out with Black communities that as per usual consultation appears to be a token exercise and the voice of the communities is not being heard.”


Hopes are now set on MPs like Hackney and Stoke Newington MP Diane Abbott who said:  “I very much regret that the Lords have thrown out the race committee. A separate race committee is essential if we are to avoid race being marginalised within the new body.”

 - quote - I very much regret that the Lords have thrown out the race committee.  - unquote -
Diane Abbott MP

Dewsbury MP Shahid Malik also pledged his support.  He said:  “Whatever the final proposals, the Government has got to ensure that the BME community will have confidence in this new body. 

“The different permutations and possibilities should allow the possibility for that to happen.

“It's important for the Government to listen to the BME community because the Commission will be with us for many decades, so it's important to get it right, and that includes taking the wishes of the BME community into account.”

A joint statement from race campaigners, including mayoral adviser Lee Jasper, Operation Black Vote and the National Assembly Against Racism, urged the Government to address these, or risk losing any faith of black and minority ethnic communities in the commission from the outset.


It said: “The new CEHR, as currently proposed in the Equality Bill, will have no representative criteria for the selection of Commissioners, therefore no guarantee of Black and Minority Ethnic representation.

 - forum -
   Have Your Say

“It is proposed to have no race committee. Its budget compares badly to the budget for the existing commissions and without clear structures, such as a race committee, there will be inadequate security and transparency of budgets to specific areas.

“The Bill provides for a Commissioner who is a disabled person and for a Disability Committee but the it is silent on similar provisions for all other equality strands, and specifically on race. We reject this inequality of treatment.”

Campaigners are also concerned about the push to locate the CEHR out of London, given the diversity of London's population, the size of London's BME population, the lessons London has for equality policy and the fact that London is the seat of national government.  A shift elsewhere would further downgrading of race equality, they claim.

Lord Ouseley's amendments had been welcomed by the CRE, the Disability Rights Commission and the Mayor of London Ken Livingstone.

The CRE said: “We have had strong representations from CRE stakeholders about the need for race to have a committee similar to the disability committee. 

“Some stakeholders have suggested that it would represent a regression from the current position if a similar committee is not provided for in the Equality Bill.

“Over the past thirty years a great deal of local race equality expertise has been built up by the network of race equality councils and it is vital that this connection with the race equality community is not inadvertently lost in the establishment of the CEHR.” 

Send to a friend
Send to a friend
print document
Print document

Contact Government
Civil Service
Single Equalities Commission
Citizenship & Integration

Related Stories

CRE turkeys vote for early Christmas Trevor's Rotten Empire UK needs a race-specific body Is this the man who destroyed the CRE? Trevor Phillips appointment as CEHR chairman condemned Trevor Phillips “to join the BNP soon” says mayor Ken Why we're rooting for Shami Batting both ways Fat cat Trevor won't fight for us Rights groups attack Blair's favourite for equality chair Phillips used me, says school experiment boy Equalities body will be a “discriminators charter” Trevor, do you qualify? CEHR chair “must have a record of fighting discrimination” PRESS RELEASE – Black communities reject Trevor Phillips for top equalities job Trevor Phillips would be “final nail in CEHR coffin” The 1990 Trust Response to The Equalities Review Interim Report Six days to influence review into government race policies Anti-racist organisations campaign for 'race committee' and Black representation on the CEHR Local race councils in revolt over merger United we stand Black groups abandon equalities super-body Trevor lobbies MPs for race committee Why we oppose the new Commission for Equality and Human Rights The moment of betrayal Let battle commence Vaz the way to do it Regions unite to demand race recognition in equalities body Sir Bill Morris blasts “one size fits all” agenda Lammy supports race committee for equalities super-body British Democracy failing Black Britain Charles Kennedy considering support for race committee MPs support for race committee grows Last chance to get race on single equalities agenda Jasper unleashed his wrath Lib Dems hold key but which way will they turn? Pump up the volume CEHR “a step backwards” says Diane Abbott Knowing is not believing Lobby MPs over absence of race in single equalities body proposals Upside down politics over single equality body Government shrug off concerns over all-white equality body A funny kind of equality Some more equal than others Time to sound alarm for equality Give us a piece of the pie Equalities merger body radically improved One Big Equality Mush Single equalities body still a dogs dinner Single equalities fudge fails to sweeten sceptics Single equalities body a 'dead duck' as disabilities group say no to merger Black community rejects single equalities merger CRE could survive single equalities merger CRE vote to kill off single equalities plans Trevor Phillips under pressure to oppose single equalities body Another former minister hits out at single equalities body Disappointment over White Paper on the single equalities body – no new powers or cash Government to impose single equalites body even if consultation opposes it Livingstone says single equalities body would be an ‘inaccessible monolith’ ‘Whitewash’ for single equalities body The Eagle has panned it – ex-race relations minister attacks single equalities body Single equalities body may not happen, says CRE chief Enforcement of equality law ‘off the agenda’ in single equalities Stitch-up claims over new single equalities body Squad to design new equalities commission lacks black grassroots credibility War of the equalities Big-guns blast single equalities body Opposition to single equalities body grows


Teeth and their use

Improving Opportunity, Strengthening Society: One year On

The Zahid Mubarek Inquiry

pdf Dept. for Communities & Local Government Citizenship Survey

Responses to the Equalities Review Interim Report

The 1990 Trust Response to The Equalities Review Interim Report

Equalities Review Interim Report Briefing – Addressing Race Equality

pdf Our Rights, Our Future

pdf Improving Opportunity, Strengthening Society: The Government's race strategy

CRE response to DTI Statement on Commission for Equality and Human Rights

Equality and Diversity Forum welcomes the progress on a Commission for Equality and Human Rights

Summary of Changes to the CEHR

The 1990 Trust’s response to the CEHR White Paper

pdf Delivering equality and human rights for black and minority ethnic communities

Flush the academic racism in Blunkett’s office down the pan

Jacqui Smith answers questions on the Single Equalities Body

How to Contact your MP


Race and Faith and Communities

Election Memory

Catalyst Magazine

UNITE TO PROTECT OUR RIGHTS: sign the statement against the erosion of civil liberties and human rights by new anti-terrorism proposals A Black Manifesto No 2 ID FREE FAROUQ PDP ASSOCIATES Power to the People

Published by The 1990 Trust

This website is subject to a disclaimer: Please read

Black Information Link. All rights reserved.

Suite 12 Winchester House 
9 Cranmer Road
London SW9 6EJ
Tel: 020  7582 1990
Fax: 020 7793 8269

top of pagetop of page

powered by Linux