Youth Parliament launches campaign to tackle ‘racism and religious discrimination’ with day of action. 20th January 2016

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UK Youth Parliament has commenced their year-long campaign to tackle racism and religious discrimination, particularly against people who are Muslim and Jewish. ‘Don’t Hate, Educate!’ aims to  ‘help young people speak out’ about racism and religious discrimination. Today’s National Day of Action will see Members of Youth Parliament call on politicians and schools to take part in campaign activities such as talks, and awareness raising event’

Over the next year, UK Youth Parliament will campaign, in partnership with Kick It Out, to challenge negative attitudes around race and religion; work with others to educate their communities in order to tackle ignorance around race and religion; and promote integration in their communities. Kick It Out, works within the football, educational and community sectors to challenge discrimination, encourage inclusive practices and work for positive change in its day-to-day work and we’re looking forward to working more closely.

The campaign starts following the Make Your Mark ballot which took place in the autumn of 2015 seeing the issue become one of the top five with 95,000 young people nominating it as their most important issue and then the subsequent vote by Members of Youth Parliament in House of Commons to make this their national campaign in November 2015.

Rohima Begum, 17, Member of Youth Parliament for Hammersmith and Fulham who spoke on the issue during the 2015 House of Commons debate said: “Our campaign has come at a very important time! It’s absolutely abhorrent that in 2016 we’re still seeing such high amounts of racism and religious discrimination across the country. I’m so glad we’ll be focussing on such an important issue that many feel unable to speak out about. Let’s remind everyone its wrong and it has no place in our society!”

Rosin Wood, Director of Kick It Out who are partnering with the campaign said: “Kick It Out is pleased to be working in partnership with Youth Parliament for the ‘Don’t Hate Educate’ campaign. With hate-crime statistics increasing in England and Wales, Kick It Out is urging immediate action to be taken to eradicate this behaviour across football and society. The Youth Parliament is leading the way on this matter by being proactive in raising awareness of hate-crime and its negative effects.”

There has been an increases in race and religion related hate crimes between 2014 and 2015 according to Home Office figures. In England and Wales the Home Office reported that there were 42,930 race related hate crimes (representing a 15% increase from the year before) and 3,254 religion related hate crimes (43% increase from the year before). Similarly in Northern Ireland, 2,277 race related incidents and crimes were reported showing a 36% increase from the year before. 80 religion related crimes and incidents were also reported showing an increase of 116% from the year before according to Police Service of Northern Ireland. The only exception in this trend has been in Scotland where the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service reported there was a 9% decrease race related hate crimes and a 4% decrease religiously aggravated crimes.

Ali Drabu, Member of Youth Parliament for Manchester, who proposed  the issue was added to the UK Youth Parliament’s manifesto in 2015 said: “In a time when extremism in the UK is on the rise, the UK Youth Parliament campaign will play a paramount role in bringing people together of all ethnicities and all races to successfully combat these vicious forms of hatred and build a better, more cohesive society for the future.”

Find out more about the campaign