One in four Sub-Saharan Africans living in Ireland were abused or assaulted in the past year, according to a highly critical report that also warns of racial profiling by the gardaí.
The closure of agencies due to austerity policies has done little to help, while anti-racism laws have loopholes or are not sufficiently enforced, the report found, adding that the country has yet to ratify a number of international conventions to protect people.
In addition, while English is not the first language for about one in 10 primary and secondary students, help for them has been withdrawn, the report says.
The report from the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance was welcomed by the Immigrant Council, which warned that even though it receives reports of one serious racist incident a week, this is not reflected in the official data.
The report said that while the Irish authorities denied there was racial profiling, “there are reports that many non-Irish people are subjected to police stops and are required to produce identity documents which, in practice, can result in racist incidents and the profiling of individuals on the basis of their colour”.
The report recommends compulsory training in human rights focusing on discrimination for all gardaí, and says more non-native Irish people should be recruited.
Denise Charlton, chief executive of the Immigrant Council, said: “The references... about racial profiling are particularly disturbing, and unfortunately reflect stories that are relayed to us through our support services on a regular basis.”
The council urged the government to increase the weekly allowance paid to asylum seekers and allow those in the asylum process for a long time to work.
The report highlighted weaknesses in Irish law, including the Incitement to Hatred Act, which it said must be implemented more vigorously. All non-national minors under 16 coming in to the country should be registered, while a long-term residence status with the same rights in education as nationals be introduced.
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