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Consular News – Embassy 67

Equalities chief to work with consulates to tackle hate crime

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has produced guidance and Twitter graphics in Polish and other languages on how to report a hate crime, in response to the sharp increase in incidents following the Brexit vote.

According to a Home Office report, racially motivated crime rose by 41% in the months following the referendum. David Isaac, Chair of the EHRC, said: “It is clear some people used the Brexit vote to justify their deplorable views and spread intolerance and hatred.”

EHRC is seeking the assistance of consulates to inform their communities on how to report a hate crime: “We hope the important information we have produced in Polish and other languages will be distributed among relevant communities and will encourage anyone who has been the victim of a hate crime to report it.”

Isaac met with the Polish Ambassador Arkady Rzegocki and Consul Michal Mazurek to discuss the surge in hate crimes against Polish people. Since the referendum, Polish consuls have dealt with 35 cases of  harassment, the most serious being the killing of Arkadiusz Józwik in Harlow (Essex). There were also reports of 10 assaults and eight acts of  vandalism, as well as the daubing of the Polish Cultural Centre with anti-Polish slogans.

Ambassador Rzegocki said there was “no place for hate crime” in the UK and he appreciated the decisive steps taken by the British government and local authorities.

Other EU consuls reported a rise in racist abuse against their nationals, according to a report by the Guardian. In the three months following the vote, between them 60 incidents were logged, including shots fired at a Lithuanian home, an arson attack on a Romanian shop and a break-in and verbal assault on a Latvian family.

EU heads of mission (pictured right)  joined MPs and Peers for the #BetterThanThat campaign in Parliament to stand up against hate crime. Initiated by the Polish Cultural Centre, it was supported by NGOs, including Kick it Out, the Board of Deputies of British Jews and Tell Mama, which monitors anti-Muslim attacks.

Tory MP Sir Eric Pickles, Labour MP Rosena Allin-Khan and Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake, along with the communities minister Lord Bourne, were in attendance.

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