Members of Youth Parliament for Sheffield launch campaign against racism and religious discrimination

Members of Youth Parliament for Sheffield launch campaign against racism and religious discrimination

Ruth Durkin No Comment

Six Members of Sheffield Youth Parliament (MYPs) are joining almost 300 elected Members of Youth Parliament in launching a year long campaign to combat racism and religious discrimination, particularly against people who are Muslim and Jewish.

The National Day of Action on Friday 22nd January saw Members of Youth Parliament call on politicians and schools to join their campaign ‘Don’t Hate, Educate!’ in their strive to “help young people speak out” about racism and religious discrimination. In Sheffield, Youth Councillors will support MYPs when they meet with their local MPs.

Over the next year, UK Youth Parliament will campaign to challenge negative attitudes around race and religion; work with others to educate their communities in order to tackle ignorance around race and religion; and promote integration in their communities. The campaign starts following the Make Your Mark ballot which took place in the autumn of 2015 seeing the issue become one of the top five with 95,000 young people nominating it as their most important issue and then the subsequent vote by Members of Youth Parliament in House of Commons to make this their national campaign in November 2015.

Eleri Kirkpatrick, Member of Youth Parliament who spoke passionately on this issue at the House of Commons debate in November, said: “I’m really pleased this was voted in as our national campaign as we shouldn’t tolerate ignorance, hatred and racism in our society.”

Nick Clegg Liberal Democrat MP for Sheffield Hallam and former Deputy Prime Minister said: “As a liberal, I believe no one should be persecuted or discriminated against because of who they are. It was great to see young people politically engaged and taking action to educate their peers and raise awareness. I will be lending my support to the Youth Parliament’s ‘Don’t Hate, Educate’ campaign and put pressure on the government to continue the fight to eliminate hate crime altogether.”

The issue is thought to have come out as one of the top issues for young people in the Make Your Mark youth consultation, following increases in race and religion related hate crimes between 2014 and 2015. In England and Wales the Home Office reported there were 42,930 race related hate crimes (representing a 15% increase from the year before) and 3,254 religion related hate crimes (43% increase from the year before). Similarly in Northern Ireland, 2,277 race related incidents and crimes were reported showing a 36% increase from the year before. 80 religion related crimes and incidents were also reported showing an increase of 116% from the year before according to Police Service of Northern Ireland. The only exception in this trend has been in Scotland where the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service reported there was a 9% decrease race related hate crimes and a 4% decrease religiously aggravated crimes.

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