The Centre for Democracy and Peace Building re-launched the Unite Against Hate campaign in partnership with Victim Support NI. The multi-agency driven initiative aims to raise awareness of hate crime among the general public and services available for victims, address the under-reporting of hate crime and promote the benefits of diversity among people in Northern Ireland.
The campaign calls on all individuals, groups and communities to unite in stamping out hate crime in Northern Ireland. It has received support from the region’s leading sporting organisations including the IFA, Ulster Rugby and the GAA as well as student bodies throughout the region and a wide range of statutory and voluntary organisations.
Lord Alderdice, Chair of the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building said:
“In a series of war anniversaries the people of Europe are currently being reminded of the horrifying consequences of the virus of hate. In our own community we do not need to look so far back to find how sectarian bigotry can destroy lives.
“Most young people believe that the increasing diversity of our society is welcome and entirely positive, and whatever our differences of class, creed, culture and colour we can all come together and ‘unite against hate’.
“Hate has disfigured our community in the past and it must never be allowed to re-emerge, not in relation to each other as Protestants and Catholics, nor against people whose race, disability, gender or sexual orientation marks them out as different. We want our community to welcome diversity but be united against hate.”
Speaking ahead of the launch Lord Mayor of Belfast Cllr Nichola Mallon, said:
“Belfast City Council is fully committed to supporting the Unite Against Hate campaign, and I would like to personally thank all of those here today who are working so hard to try to tackle prejudice, ignorance and hate crime in our society.
“Belfast is becoming a more diverse city and a melting pot for many different cultures and ethnic groups – and is a richer place for it. Belfast people are known for their warm welcome. Recent headlines are upsetting and certainly not representative of the majority of people living in the city.
“It’s important that we do all we can to support those who feel marginalised or vulnerable and this campaign is important in highlighting the services that are available to provide help and support.”