BLAM UK Press Release: BLAM UK Issues UN Body Communications over UK Government’s Race Report

Black Learning Achievement and Mental Health UK CIC (BLAM UK) has triggered the Urgent Action Communication procedure of a UN Body, over No10 Report that denies Institutional Racism exists in the UK, arguing that this report violates a number of the UK’s legal obligations under International Law.

The Racial Justice civil society organisation warns that such a report will be used to justify and further racially discriminatory outcomes against Black, Brown and racialised groups in the UK.

On Tuesday 6 April, BLAM UK a Civil Society organisation sent an Urgent Procedures Correspondence to the United Nations’ Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, in response to the UK Government’s recently published race report. The Racial Justice non-profit believe that the report requires immediate attention from the UN Committee in order to prevent or limit the scale of serious violations of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, of which the UK has legal obligations under.

Immediately after the publication of the race report on 31 March, BLAM made an official comment on their website: ‘We do not need a report from a government rooted and built on anti-blackness to confirm our realities as directly impacted persons.’

The Non-Profit have now taken their concerns to the United Nations’, highlighting issues such as Black generational trauma, the dismissal of the atrocities of the Transatlantic slave trade by the Government, and the controversial Policing, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill to illustrate the UK’s perpetual and consistent institutional and systemic racism.

The Correspondence to the UN states that ‘this report will be used to validate the Government’s current strategy which can only be understood as a colourblind approach to race’, noting the potential impact this will have on recently resurged far-right groups such as Neo-Nazis or ‘All Lives Matter’ groups, who may ‘use the outcomes of this report to justify and further their own racially motivated agenda’.

BLAM UK Founder, Ife Thompson, states: 

“In the words of James Baldwin – “It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have”. 

The UK Government through this report, has shown us it remains a ferocious enemy to racial justice in the global north. At BLAM, we do all we can to ensure we can create a more racially equitable, just and decolonised society. We know this report, if unchallenged, will be used by those in power to dismiss our lived realities and further our oppression. This is why we are doing all we can to hold the Government to account and to that affect defend the human rights of the Black community in the UK.”

BLAM UK Volunteer Lucy Parkhouse, states: 

“The Government’s race report makes a mockery of the lived experience of all Black persons and people of colour in the United Kingdom. Cherry-picking contributors based on their willingness to ignore the realities of discrimination is, in and of itself, a perfect encapsulation of institutionalised racism. 

This report had the potential to provide a genuine opportunity for the Government to address its shortcomings in response to the Black Lives Matter protests last year, in response to the continuously appalling stop and search statistics, in response to the disproportionate numbers of people of colour that we have lost to COVID-19. Instead, it now represents a wasted opportunity and a tool to be used to the detriment of Black people – their hurt is discredited and ‘disproved’.

It is totally unacceptable to attempt to sanitise the traumatic and inhumane transatlantic slave trade, in order to appease and serve only the white gaze. Moreover, this is being put forward  by a political party in Government which has its own Wikipedia page dedicated to accounts of racism. At times such as this, we must work not only to amplify, but to truly listen and act on the voices of Black and Brown people in the United Kingdom.”

Contact BLAM UK for further comment –

BLAM (Black Learning Achievement and Mental Health) UK is an award-winning educational, advocacy and mental health not-for-profit that champions Black British cultural capital and creativity, improves the mental health and wellbeing of peoples of African descent, provides a comprehensive and decolonised education system, and supports social inclusion of the Black British community. Among other programmes, BLAM work with schools to ensure the curriculum is reflective of African-Caribbean culture, history and heritage. The organisation delivers after school clubs and workshops and provides teacher training on developing an anti-racist pedagogy and creating a Black inclusion curriculum. Through our advocacy work, we also promote and protect the human rights of Black people in the UK. This includes challenging racially discriminatory school exclusions against Black pupils in the UK.

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