Brussels : The European Network Against Racism (ENAR) is extremely concerned by numerous reports of racist speech and attacks aimed at Polish, Muslim and other Black and ethnic minorities in the United Kingdom, following the EU referendum vote for Brexit. UK leaders must strongly respond to and publicly condemn these incidents, as well as prevent a further rise in hate crimes.
Xenophobic and racist discourses were part of the campaign in the run-up to the referendum. These latest incidents show that political hate speech can escalate into real life and have a very tangible and destructive effect on minority communities in the United Kingdom.
Police and law enforcement authorities must adequately investigate and prosecute these incidents as hate crimes and ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice.
UK leaders and politicians must speak out against and challenge hatred and prejudice and the discourses that fuel them. They should ensure hate crimes are addressed. They should also take concrete measures to counter cross-community division and support such initiatives at local level. In the current divisive context, political leaders must ensure that all members of society feel worthy of security, protection and well-being.
Amel Yacef, new ENAR Chair, said: “British society should not give in to revengeful racist nationalism against communities who have steadfastly contributed to the growth and sustainability of the UK economy and society. When the backlash of the Brexit vote is likely to hit the UK economy, the last thing the UK society wants is to alienate and divide its communities. Mr Cameron, it’s up to you to lead by example and take strong measures to stop this racism!”