Un International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 7:51 pm on 8th April 2019.

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Photo of Faisal Rashid Faisal Rashid Labour, Warrington South 7:51 pm, 8th April 2019

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. There is no need for any sort of racism in any society, especially in sport—it is unbelievable.

We need to systematically eradicate all forms of racist abuse from public life. There should be an absolute zero-tolerance policy towards racism, yet governing bodies like UEFA dole out minor fines and partial stadium closures when teams are subjected to racist abuse. It is nowhere near good enough.

Finally, young people have a pivotal role to play in defeating new forms of racism. Ever since I became involved in politics, I have been inspired by the example of young people seeking to make the world a better place to live. We have recently seen the climate change protests by young people all over the world, teaching us the importance of tackling climate change for future generations. But young people are also on the frontline and at the receiving end of much of this new and pernicious rise in racism, particularly online.

Many young people are adopting extreme and racist views as a result of the content they see online, day in and day out. We can do more to combat this in our schools. Young people must be better equipped to identify new forms of misinformation and bigotry if we are to prevent these poisonous ideas from taking hold of future generations. The fight against bigotry and racism begins in the classroom. This is one of the many reasons why our current underfunding of schools is a national scandal. How can we expect future generations to build on our hard-won victories against racism and intolerance if we starve their schools of funding and resources?

I say to far-right racists: ethnic minorities are not going anywhere. We deserve to live, work and raise our families in peace in our own country. The fight against racism and all forms of discrimination is a mainstay of peace and social cohesion, especially in our increasingly diverse society. With this in mind, I hope the Government commit to marking this day each year, so that we are able to celebrate our diversity and remember those who have committed their lives to fighting racism for a better future.