March marks Anti-Racism Month in Ireland

Christine O' Mahony

March has been deemed Anti-Racism Month, according to the Irish Network Against Racism (INAR). This month was chosen due to various national and international celebrations and commemoration days taking place which focus on combating racism and celebrating diversity.

On March 21st, countries around the world celebrate the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. This date was chosen because on that day in 1960 in Apartheid South Africa, 69 Black peaceful protestors were killed when the Apartheid regime’s police opened fire on them, while they attended a peaceful demonstration against apartheid laws in Sharpeville, South Africa. 

The College View contacted a spokesperson from INAR to ask about the origin of the movement and what events they have planned for the month of March.

The spokesperson said: “Following the European Year Against Racism 1997, the Irish Platform Against Racism (as it was then called) was formed in 1998, the same year that saw the birth of the European Network Against Racism (ENAR).

“Like its European umbrella ENAR, the Irish Platform was conceived as a network organisation with the determination to marshal the resources of civil society organisations, bridging Traveller, Roma, migrant, minority ethnic and minority religious communities into a unified, collective fight against racism in all its forms.”

By 2005, the now renamed Irish Network Against Racism (INAR) was a voice for challenging racism and discrimination due to the consistent and collective efforts of its members and volunteers. By 2011, INAR had registered as the European Network Against Racism Ireland, as is recognised as such. Since then, its membership has “quadrupled”.

In 2013, ENAR launched its flagship racist incident reporting system, which is now widely recognised as the international model for reporting and monitoring hate crime.

In INAR’s previous Report on Racism (2020), their findings indicated that there were over 700 reports received in 2020, and discrimination accounted for 99 reports, while other recorded racist incidents accounted for 143 reports. There were 334 reports concerning hate speech and criminal offences excluding incitement to hatred, constituted 159 reports.

Today, INAR is focusing on “leading campaigns on hate crime, reporting to intergovernmental organisations, empowering its members, providing analysis to legislators, the media and wider society, and offering a range of expertise from hate crime training to combating racism at a community level”.

When asked about the events they have planned, INAR replied: “INAR has events planned for Anti-Racism Month. While we have not fully confirmed some of them yet, we will definitely have a #TogetherAgainstRacism Social Media Campaign, and launch our 2021 Reports of Racism in Ireland.

“We also have a National Events Calendar highlighting events celebrating diversity and multiculturalism during March. You can find the event:”.  

INAR also noted that they will be launching another report on racism on the 21st of March 2022, stating that they are “poised to lead Ireland in the fight against racism into the 2020s”.

Christine O’ Mahony

Image Credit: Clay Banks on Unsplash