UK Parliament Human Rights Committee Quietly Publishes Damning Report Into Black British Experience At 1AM

UK Parliament Human Rights Committee Quietly Publishes Damning Report Into Black British Experience At 1AM

November 11, 2020

At 1 o'clock this morning (yes, seriously), the UK Parliament Human Rights Committee uploaded a damning report titled Black People, Racism And Human Rights that detailed the findings of the committee's investigation into racism and the Black British experience (in which 'Black' is described as Black African, Black Caribbean, and other groups of Black people including mixed race people with Black heritage). Fortunately, nothing gets past Twitter and this morning the timeline was flooded with commentary and piece-by-piece dissections.

The joint committee, whose senior membership is almost exclusively white (save for Lord Singh), was made up of members of both parties from both the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

The committee's already catching a lot of flack for the report, and when you dig through its 45 pages, you'll quickly see why.

You can read the report in full here, but we've included a small handful of its findings below.

  • More than 75% of Black people do not believe their human rights are protected as much as their white counterparts.
  • 91% of Black women and 77% of Black men said they wouldn't receive the same treatment by the police as a white person.
  • As of June 2020, 7.7% of the prison population were Black, despite making up only 3.4% of people in England and Wales.
  • In 2018/19, Black people in England and Wales were 9.5x more likely to be stopped and searched than white people and 5x more likely to have force used on them by police than white people. It also added that in the same period Black people in England and Wales were 8x more likely to have tasers used on them than white people.
  • The death rate for Black women is rising year on year, which an article in the British Medical Journal argues is related to institutional racism.
  • 78% of Black women believe their health is equally protected by the NHS. However, only 47% of Black men said they felt that way.
  • Despite warnings that Black women are 5x more likely to die than white women, the report contained no recommendation. Although it did commit to further research on the causes of this, a similar report in 2018 said the same thing.

Suggestions for the future were also put forward by some of the Black respondents they spoke to. They include reparations, better anti-racism laws, reform of the justice system, and better representation at senior levels of organisations across all sectors including education, the media, the police, the judiciary, the civil service and Parliament. The report also called for a "high profile organisation at a national level" to be formed to fill the vacuum left by the Commission for Racial Equality, which was absorbed by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (which currently has no Black commissioners).

Labour's shadow justice secretary, David Lammy, commented "What happens is what we see on the streets of the United States. They take the law into their own hands. People get very angry and frustrated."

He continued: "I fear and worry for the future if we do not get to a place where we are not just kicking these issues into the long grass but are actually comprehensively implementing reviews that have been recommended after long and careful deliberation."

Baroness Lawrence, mother of Stephen Lawrence, was also quoted in the report: "We have had so many reports, and every time we have a report, they go back to the beginning again and keep repeating the same thing. I am not sure how many more lessons the Government need to learn. It is not just the Government of today but the Government of the Labour Party. How many more lessons do we all need to learn? The lessons are there already for us to implement. Until we start doing that, we will keep coming back in a year or two years repeating the same thing over and over again."

Again, there is a lot more to this and we would urge you to read the full report here.

Words: James Keith
Image via: Socialist Appeal