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Jasper unleashed his wrath

by Orantes Moore
12/12/2005

LEE JASPER tells the New Nation newspaper why Britain&#39s black communities have been sold out by Trevor Phillips&#39 Commission for Racial Equality.

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Today&#39s New Nation newspaper, which includes the Lee Jasper interview.

This week we were planning to publish a story about the abolition of the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) and the formation of the new Commission for Equality and Human Rights (CEHR) that is supposed to take place.

If you have been reading New Nation over the past few weeks, you will be aware that more than 100 organisations have opposed the government’s plans because they believe race as an issue is being marginalised.

Last week Trevor Phillips called for the formation of a Commission for Integration and Citizenship to replace the CRE.

While we were researching the story, a very angry Lee Jasper, the Mayor’s Director of Equalities and Policing, called New Nation. We thought it would be more interesting to publish exactly what he had to say:

.

The government are putting through the equalities bill through parliament at the moment, which will give the Home Secretary the power to abolish the CRE.

There have been ongoing negotiations with the government about the establishment of a race committee, and so far, they have refused saying that: “We don’t want to give you a race committee because it will promote silo-thinking in relation to tackling discrimination. If you’re a black, Jewish, lesbian, you may want to go to the other agencies available to you rather than the CRE. This will provide you with a one-stop shop solution.”

The reality is, whilst the government has given the disabled community a disability committee with a disability commissioner and ring-fenced [guaranteed] funding, the African Caribbean and Asian communities have been given nothing.

We’ve been pushing for the establishment of the race committee, which they have so far refused, so what we are going to do is walk into a future which is going to give the Home Secretary the power to abolish the CRE; no race committee; no race ring-fenced funding for race equality work; no guarantee for race equality work and no guarantee of representation on the national commission.

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The New Nation interview

What we are being offered as a sop, is this Commission for Integration and Citizenship (CIC). But there is no more guarantee for a CIC than we have for a race committee. And in fact, my own view is that if you are the chair of the CRE and you are saying the CRE is outmoded and needs to be abolished, you are definitely in the wrong job.

For 30 years the CRE has put forward some of the most groundbreaking race equality legislation. People should remember the discriminatory housing policies of the 70s and 80s, which designated certain places as white areas that black people couldn’t move into.

It was only because of the work of the CRE that that housing strategy, which sought to create black ghettos was eventually challenged and overcome.

People should also remember the levels of racism in the workplace. Thousands of black people have benefited from the race equality councils in local towns and cities across the country.
Many others have been supported by the national legal team at the CRE to bring their cases to employment tribunal; and there have been massive cases in relation to challenging racism in the workplace. It’s the same in areas such as education and health.
The CRE have made a significant difference over the past 30 years. Of course, there are those who are critical of the CRE and I am certainly one of them.

I think it needs more power, resources and it needs to develop a spine so it can be independent and critical of the government when it needs to be. But that does not give the CRE commissioners, or the chair of the CRE, the right to negotiate away the existence of the CRE without even a thank-you, or a consultation with the wider African Caribbean and Asian communities who depend on the CRE to get their employers or to threaten the reporting of racist practices by various institutions.

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Resources:

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

Links:

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

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