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Tue, 14 July 2020

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UN inspector: Brexit, immigration reforms and austerity have made Britain more racist

UN inspector: Brexit, immigration reforms and austerity have made Britain more racist
2 min read

The austerity programme, changes to immigration and Brexit have all “disproportionately” affected Britain’s ethnic minorities, a UN inspector has said.


Tendayi Achiume, the Special Rapporteur on Racism, criticised the "hostile environment" spearheaded by Theresa May when she was Home Secretary for fostering racial tensions.

She was also critical of the effect of the Brexit debate on immigrants living legally in the UK.

But former work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith criticised the visit. "These visits are completely pointless," he told the Times.

"They are politically motivated, they are inspired by the extreme left, and the idea is to kick the UK."

Professor Achiume has been on a fact-finding mission for the last two weeks and made the statements as part of her end of mission report. 

She arrived in the UK just as the Windrush scandal reached its peak with Amber Rudd’s resignation as Home Secretary.

Professor Achiume said the scandal showed how the British government were responsible for "gross human rights violations and indignities" because of what they had put the Windrush generation through.

She recommended repealing sections of 2014 and 2016 immigration acts which forced landlords to check the immigration status of potential renters.

It was "no surprise that a policy that ostensibly seeks to target only irregular immigrants is destroying the lives and livelihoods of racial and ethnic minority communities more broadly", she said.

Ms Achiume said that while the UK embraced a "substantive vision of racial equality, and explicitly prohibited both direct and indirect forms of racial discrimination" there was "much to do especially in the arena of addressing structural forms of racial discrimination and inequality".

A government spokeswoman said: "We note that the special rapporteur commended UK legislation and policy to tackle direct and indirect racial discrimination...

"We have made great progress, but the prime minister is clear that if there is no rational explanation for ethnic disparities, then we - as a society - must take action to change them. That is precisely what we will do."

However, they spokeswoman added reviews were in place to check people lawfully in the UK were not penalised by attempts to tackle illegal migration.

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