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The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed annually on 21 March and the theme for 2018 is promoting tolerance, inclusion, unity, and respect for diversity in the context of combatting racial discrimination. The UN highlights that racism can take various forms including through “denying individuals the basic principles of equality to fuelling ethnic hatred that may lead to genocide”, which can “destroy lives and fracture communities”. An early attempt at providing legal protection in the UK was brought about through the Race Relations Act 1965, following lobbying from the Campaign Against Racial Discrimination and by members of both Houses of Parliament. More recently, there has been the introduction of the Equality Act 2010, which protects a variety of characteristics, including race, and prohibits various types of discrimination, harassment and victimisation. In 2015, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation found that “people from ethnic minority groups are often at a disadvantage in the labour market”. Reporting in 2017, the McGregor-Smith Review claimed that GDP could increase by up to 1.3 percent a year if workers from black and ethnic minority backgrounds progressed at the same rate as their white colleagues. 

In 2016–17, there were 80,393 hate crimes recorded by the police in England and Wales, of which 62,685 (78 percent) were race hate crimes, representing a 27 increase from 2016–17. Whilst the number of stop and searches have fallen for all ethnic groups between the period of 2006/07 and 2015/16, people from an ethnic minority background are three times more likely, and black people are over six times more likely, to be stopped and searched than white people. Considering the Criminal Justice System, the Lammy Review recommended improvements aimed at reducing the proportion of BAME offenders in the criminal justice system to reflect a “growing sense of urgency, across party-political lines, to find solutions to this inequity”.


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