Racial Discrimination

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office written question – answered on 30th November 2020.

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Photo of Sarah Champion Sarah Champion Chair, International Development Committee, Chair, International Development Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to (a) tackle racism in the humanitarian sector and (b) to ensure that the Business in the Community’s Race at Work Charter is fulfilled.

Photo of Nigel Adams Nigel Adams Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

FCDO maintains an ongoing dialogue with humanitarian actors across a range of important issues, including racism. Specifically, we are engaging with the Inter-Agency Standing Committee, the main international forum of UN and NGO humanitarian actors, to follow up on the recent statement committing its members to examine and address racism and racial discrimination within their own organisations and in the humanitarian sector. Additionally, we have robust accountability frameworks to ensure that our humanitarian partners uphold humanitarian principles and meet the most urgent needs without discrimination based on race, nationality, religion, gender, disability or other protected characteristics.

Sir Philip Barton signed the BITC Race at Work Charter on day one of the FCDO. We are now developing a strategy for fulfilling all five BITC commitments, which will inform and drive our efforts to improve equality of opportunity in the workplace and help build an inclusive FCDO. The FCDO has fulfilled the first commitment in appointing Sir Tim Barrow as the Board Sponsor for race. Sir Tim launched the FCDO Summit Programme - to support and develop BAME colleagues, in preparation for SCS/SMS. We have also launched the Bridges programme - a positive action mentoring programme for more junior staff, including those with a disability, BAME or from a lower socioeconomic background. Both programmes support the fifth BITC commitment on supporting ethnic minority career progression.

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