A human rights lawyer has prompted outrage after accusing Number 10 of using a ‘racial trope’ to defend itself over a UN report that called Britain racist.
Dominique Day chaired a working group of experts on people of African descent which said there had been a failure to tackle ‘systemic’ racism in the UK. The government ‘strongly’ rejected most of its findings and said the report presented a ‘superficial analysis’ of complex issues.
In response, the American attorney claimed the word ‘superficial’ was an ‘upgrade’ from ‘lazy’ – which she said was used in one meeting during her 10-day fact-finding trip – and called it a ‘familiar racial trope’.
But former Cabinet minister Shailesh Vara, whose family moved to Britain from Uganda in the 1960s, told MailOnline the Downing Street response was ‘not a trope in any way’.
Dominique Day chaired a working group of experts on people of African descent which said there had been a failure to tackle ‘systemic’ racism in the UK
In response, the American attorney claimed the word ‘superficial’ was an ‘upgrade’ from ‘lazy’
‘A 10-day tour around England is hardly a proper way to truly understand the situation. Of course it is superficial analysis, it is not a trope in any way,’ the Tory MP said.
‘The UN report doesn’t reflect the UK as it is. The fact that so many people from across the world want to come and live here sends out a powerful message and speaks volumes to rebut the UN analysis.’
Ms Day is chair of the UN Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent, which visited the UK last week to discover evidence of ‘racism, xenophobia and Afrophobia’.
She later tweeted: ‘When the UK gov’t called our 20-pg PRELIMINARY findings superficial (upgrade from ”lazy” used in one mtg), the familiar racial trope recalled the surreality of confronting anti-Blackness bodied as I am.’
The UN group visited London, Bristol, Birmingham and Manchester, meeting police and government officials.
Its members also had a ‘robust’ discussion with Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch, an anti-woke Tory ‘rising star’ who was born in Nigeria and is touted as a future Prime Minister.
Former Cabinet minister Shailesh Vara, whose family moved to Britain from Uganda in the 1960s, told MailOnline the Downing Street response was ‘not a trope in any way’
After the visit, it wrote to the government to express ‘very extreme concern’ about the failure to address ‘structural, institutional and systemic racism’ against black people in Britain.
The group called for an immediate and unconditional moratorium on the use of joint enterprise laws by prosecutions and the use of strip searches by police during stop and searches.
‘We have serious concerns about impunity and the failure to address racial disparities in the criminal justice system, deaths in police custody, ‘joint enterprise’ convictions and the dehumanising nature of the stop and (strip) search,’ it said in a statement.
In preliminary findings, it also claimed that austerity measures had exacerbated racism and racial discrimination for black people.
Speaking at a press conference in London on Friday, Ms Day said: ‘I’ve never visited a country before where there is a culture of fear pervading black communities – relating to a range of asylum, residency, policing issues.
‘An entire community experiences constant and ongoing human rights violations as a routine and normalised part of daily life.’
The UN group has a ‘robust’ discussion with Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch, an ‘anti-woke’ Tory ‘rising star’ who was born in Nigeria and is touted as a future Prime Minister
A Government spokesman said: ‘We strongly reject most of these findings. The report wrongly views people of African descent as a single homogeneous group and presents a superficial analysis of complex issues that fails to look at all possible causes of disparities, not just race.
‘We are proud that the UK is an open, tolerant and welcoming country but this hard-earned global reputation is not properly reflected in this report. We are not complacent and recognise some people experience racism in Britain, but we are very clear this has no place in our society and must be rooted out.
‘The UK government has made great strides in addressing racial and ethnic disparities, most recently with our ground-breaking Inclusive Britain strategy, which is focussed on closing outcome gaps between people from different ethnic backgrounds. Instead of sowing division we must celebrate the fact that this country strives to give everybody, from every community, in every corner of the UK, the opportunity to thrive and succeed.’
Prior to the group’s visit to Britain, a senior Government source pointed out the UN group had called on the Government to reject a previous study by the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities which found there was no evidence of institutional racism in the UK.
It had accused the report authors of ‘normalising white supremacy’.
The source said: ‘It would be great if this UN working group noted the great strides the UK has made in addressing racial and ethnic disparities, most recently with the ground-breaking Inclusive Britain strategy.
‘However the previous record of this working group with other countries doesn’t leave us with much hope.’
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