The press release issued by the Foreign Office on 6 October 2023.
Interactive Dialogue with the Working Group on the Rights of People of African Descent. Delivered by UK’s Ambassador to the WTO and UN, Simon Manley.
Thank you Mr President.
We are hugely proud of the modern and diverse country the UK has become. A successful multi-national, multi-ethnic, and multi-faith state. One where every citizen – regardless of their background – enjoys rights, opportunities, and the expectation of being treated with the kindness and respect that we like to think characterises British society at its best. People of African Descent have made, and continue to make enormous contributions to British society, including at the very top of our government.
The UK takes racism and racial disparity very seriously, which is why we were pleased that the Working Group’s report recognised the UK’s robust legal framework which protects people against discrimination, measures such as our Online Safety Bill which will clamp down on online racist abuse, and our pioneering use of data on race and ethnicity which the Working Group identified as best practice.
However, it is regrettable that the report did not sufficiently consider the complex and nuanced drivers of racial disparity in the UK – nor the differences in outcomes between different ethnic minority groups – coming to the unfounded conclusion that racism was always the primary driver of poorer outcomes.
Indeed, it did not mention our Inclusive Britain action plan to tackle negative disparities in several areas the report highlights, across health, education, employment, and crime and policing. The 74 actions that we are delivering are designed to close outcome gaps between people from different ethnic backgrounds, promote unity and build a fairer Britain for all.
Due to the late reception of the report, we did not have nearly enough time to provide a full written response to the Working Group ahead of today’s presentation, as is normally the practice. This is unfortunate, and we would appreciate being given more time to consider reports from Special Procedures visits in the future.