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Politicians Say NO to Racism in Wales

Four political party leaders sign agreement

Four of the five political party leaders in the Assembly have agreed a joint statement saying racism has absolutely no place in Wales in the run-up to May's local elections.

Welsh Labour, Plaid Cymru, the Welsh Conservatives and Welsh Liberal Democrats have asked their candidates in the local elections to avoid addressing the issue in a way that builds resentment against people of a different nationality or race.

Only the UKIP leader declined to sign-up to the joint statement.

The statement says the elections are taking place against a backdrop of heightened attention being given to immigration and its impact, both in Britain and internationally.

It adds: "Local government has a vital role to play in caring for migrants and asylum seekers, particularly with new people coming unexpectedly to their area in need of council services.

"In this situation, it is vital that candidates for election avoid addressing the issue in a way which serves to build up resentment against those of different nationality or race.

"Racism has absolutely no place in Wales.  We are united in this message:

  • Abuse or discrimination against people because of their race or faith is wrong.
  • Abuse or discrimination against people because of their nationality, or because they are a refugee, asylum seeker or migrant, is wrong.
  • Abuse or discrimination against anyone because of their age, disability, sexuality, gender or gender identity, is wrong.

"We strongly encourage all victims and witnesses of hate crime and incidents to contact the police or the National Hate Crime Report and Support Centre.
We will tackle racist behaviour head on.  Nobody should think that they have any license to abuse people. Nobody should suffer hostility, bullying or prejudice.

"Government cannot do it alone. Most racism is every day racism:  verbal abuse on the bus or on-line; derogatory comments; subtle discrimination in the course of every day life. We urge everyone who witnesses bullying to stand up and speak out, and take ownership of what is happening in their own village, town or on-line community.

"The root of racism is the fear of difference. We call on all leaders, elected representatives, organisations from every sector, communities, on-line groups and individuals to unite in work to reduce that fear, to help us appreciate the value of diversity, and to build stronger connections between groups.

"Our shared vision is of Wales as a vibrant, tolerant and welcoming place to live and work. If 2016 has been about division, let's make 2017 a year that unites us around a common purpose - to stand together against hatred and continue building a better Wales for all."

 

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