• Friday, January 27, 2023

HEADLINE STORY

Ethnic minorities of Belfast face racism, isolation: Research

By: Chandrashekar Bhat

Many ethnic minority residents of Belfast including Asians have continued to experience “racism, isolation and poverty” impacting their social and personal life, new research has revealed.

Researchers, who interviewed more than 100 people from black, Asian, minority ethnic and Traveller communities, found there were inequalities across education, work and access to services.

According to the study commissioned by the Northern Ireland capital city’s council, Belfast Trust and the Public Health Agency, children and young people are at risk of being bullied due to their ethnicity, faith or background.

Several residents from minority ethnic or migrant communities were trapped in low-paid jobs while institutional inequalities and barriers “very often” affected their career progress, the research found.

It revealed that the residents of the city born outside Northern Ireland found it difficult to have their qualifications and skills recognised.

While overcrowding and housing quality are the top issues migrant and minority ethnic residents of Belfast face, low income makes homeownership challenging.

Discrimination in the private rental market meant that people are driven into precarious living situations, with short-term and even exploitative illegal rental agreements, the report said.

Northern Ireland’s population comprises about 125,000 people from minority ethnic communities including those with Indian and Chinese roots. The number of asylum seekers and migrants is also growing in the region.

Belfast’s Lord Mayor Tina Black the findings were a call for action to “do better” and “we gave a commitment that we will.”

Taking pride in the diversity of the city, Black said the experiences documented in the research report “challenged” the council and its partners to work together “to create a city of equals and address issues around racism, prejudice and discrimination”.

She promised to look at identifying any inequalities in service delivery and ensuring “our decision-making is inclusive.”

The findings also showed that people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds and Travellers, were “not represented in key institutions and boardrooms”, the Lord Mayor said.

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