The annual Human Rights and Racial Equality Benchmarking Report found that up to three race-related incidents are being reported to the police in Northern Ireland every single day. Reported racist attacks have also jumped a shocking 43% in the past year, in figures obtained by the Belfast Telegraph.
South Belfast MP Alasdair McDonnell has commented that “Race hate crime has soared over the past year” and the local police recently launched ‘Operation Reiner’ after hate attacks against foreign nationals grew significantly.
The report noted that the incidents were mainly concentrated in the Greater Belfast area. Some of the alleged racist attacks detailed in the study include: a pipe bomb used to destroy a Polish family’s car; excrement being thrown as a Romanian cyclist; and children being called “Jew whore,” “dirty Arab,” and “monkeys.”
Five people turned up outside Michael Abiona’s home in the Knockagoney area on Tuesday holding up banners saying “Houses 4 Local People” and “We need Homes 2” on them. The demonstrators claimed their protests were “not racist” and were in fact about “a bungalow equipped for pensioners and disabled.”
Abiona, who has been living in Belfast since 2010 and is in fact disabled himself, has been forced to give up his home after fears he may be attacked.
An anti-racist mural was even painted on Falls Road, by Danny Devenny and Marty Lyon.
Today, in response to the worrying rise in race crimes, Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness launched proposals on racial equality.
The first minister said: “Northern Ireland society has changed dramatically over the past decade and has been enhanced by the rich diversity of those people who have made their home here.
They make a valuable contribution to all our lives and any actions that make people feel unwelcome, vulnerable or intimidated must be condemned by us all.”