Problems registering with a GP, negative racial comments, unfair treatment at work and how life has become more difficult since Brexit were just some of the issues that came up at Wednesday’s meeting between the Migrant Centre NI, the East Timor Community and the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland in Lurgan.
The meeting was the first in a series of Commission engagement sessions being held with local groups across Northern Ireland in May and June.
Commission staff met with representatives from the East Timor Community and heard first hand of what life is like in Northern Ireland for ethnic minority and migrant people living and working here.
During the session, the Commission also provided advice on the protection of equality rights after Brexit.
The information and views that were shared today will also help inform the Commission’s response to the Race Law Reform Consultation from the NI Assembly Executive Office, which closes on June 18.
Speaking at the event, Geraldine McGahey, Chief Commissioner of the Equality Commission said: “We are working to tackle racism and racial inequalities in Northern Ireland and what we are hearing today about people’s experiences about life here, especially since Brexit, is very valuable to us.
“[This] event in Lurgan was an opportunity to meet with local communities and hear their perspective and experiences of racism in Northern Ireland and I’d like to thank everyone who took part.
“Many equality rights remain in Northern Ireland after Brexit. We want to make people aware of their rights and that the Commission is here to provide advice and guidance if anybody has a concern about their rights after Brexit.
“Reform of race equality law is a key priority for us. We are calling on the Northern Ireland Executive to make urgent changes to the race equality legislation to strengthen our current protections against racial discrimination.”
Liz Connor-Kerr from the Migrant Centre NI said: “Migrant Centre NI works to protect the rights of migrant workers in Northern Ireland. It is very important that new and settled migrant communities get the opportunity to share their views of life here and we will continue to work with the Equality Commission to promote racial equality in Northern Ireland.”
More information on protecting all equality rights after Brexit on our website at ECNI – Rights After Brexit (equalityni.org)