In the Press

Minorities fighting for racial equality

Growing up as part of a minority group is not easy, no matter where you live or where you come from. Being part of a minority brings with it many obstacles because the world we all live in and share is one which does not cater for the specific needs of minorities. The policies in place are made for able bodied, heteronormative individuals and anything aimed at rectifying challenges faced by minorities are added on but are rarely factored into the baseline. And while, as individuals, we come from two completely different minority backgrounds, with very different needs and challenges, the fact that we both face challenges makes this a shared struggle. Nevertheless, we are privileged. It may be difficult for some to identify with this, but as human rights activists this is a natural and logical conclusion. Over the years both of us have taken the time to understand the shared challenges faced by different minorities, recognising that it is a shared fight. We are aware that however hard the challenges we face, they are nothing in comparison to other minorities, particularly those who face systematic and institutional challenges due to their race and creed. Malta’s population is ever-changing and with these changes come not only new opportunities, but also new responsibilities. As a nation, we have a responsibility to make sure that we have the right structures in place to deal with our new demographics and our changing faces. These structures must be put in place both at a local and European level in order to ensure that we have the best tools in place to strengthen our resolve. At a local level, Malta’s 2020 Public Consultation on a National Action Plan against Racism and Xenophobia was a good step in identifying the available opportunities for effective change when it comes to tackling racial inequality within society. Nonetheless, we need to move forward. We need to forge ahead and formulate a concrete action plan which effectively tackles the realities that we are currently facing, as well as those which we may face in the future. These plans should be based on the European Union’s standard for tackling discrimination as defined in the EU’s Anti-racism Action Plan 2020-2025, which encourages active engagement within marginalised communities. It also projects the strengthening of equality bodies and better transposition of the EU’s equality framework. But even here, these factors alone are not enough to create the reparations needed to ensure an equal and fair society for all. We (both as Malta and as a European Union) need to tackle racial equality in an intersectional way. It is imperative that we expand Europe’s current tools to ensure that we take on an all-encompassing approach to tackle the discriminations faced by persons of colour and other ethnic minorities. Race is an intersectional issue, just like any other minority issue. Whether we are dealing with disability, LGBTIQ rights or class inequality, people who find themselves within one social category can often find themselves a member of more than one. Thus we need to arm ourselves with the right tools to create a society which caters for all variations within itself. To do this, we need to expand the Race Equality directive on the same lines as the Employment Equality directive, which seeks to combat discrimination on the grounds of age, disability, religion and sexual orientation at the workplace. By adopting an intersectional approach towards the Race Equality Directive and extending its scope to cover the same grounds as we did with the Employment Equality Directive, we can ensure that vulnerable minorities who face discrimination can find resolve in a way which is holistic. It is only by doing this that we can ensure that equality in our European Union is not a postcode lottery. There is much to be done when it comes to achieving racial equality for all ethnicities, which is also why we believe that we need to start to see leaders from all walks of life, especially other minorities, as it is impossible for the world to see minorities as their equals if we are not seen or heard at all. Earlier this year we met during the Labour Party’s LEAD programme. This programme worked towards encouraging more women to enter the political arena because there was the recognition that the world’s parliaments, including the Maltese Parliament were too homogenous and were not fully representative of Malta’s demographics. This programme brought us together as mentee and mentor- and we believe that it should be the basis for more programmes which encourage social minorities into the forefront of politics and decision making. But above all initiatives and frameworks and programmes, what we really need is to get to the root of the debate and recognize that we are all equal on this planet which we must share and thus have a responsibility to create a world which works for all of us.

Christine-Ann Deasey, MEP Cyrus Engerer


MaltaToday

My EP Work

Dashing from one meeting to another, to debating groundbreaking legislation with colleagues, stopping to give interviews to the media, or drafting resolutions - there are truly no two days which are identical at the European Parliament. However, our goal remains constant: to work for a stronger Europe which is just and equal, a Europe which we all are proud to call our home.

In the Press

Growing up as part of a minority group is not easy, no matter where you live or where you come from. Being part of a minority brings with it many obstacles because the world we all live in and share is one which does not cater for the specific needs of minorities. The policies in place are made for able bodied, heteronormative individuals and anything aimed at rectifying challenges faced by minorities are added on but are rarely factored into the baseline. And while, as individuals, we come from two completely different minority backgrounds, with very different needs and challenges, the fact that we both face challenges makes this a shared struggle. Nevertheless, we are privileged. It may be difficult for some to identify with this, but as human rights activists this is a natural and logical conclusion. Over the years both of us have taken the time to understand the shared challenges faced by different minorities, recognising that it is a shared fight. We are aware that however hard the challenges we face, they are nothing in comparison to other minorities, particularly those who face systematic and institutional challenges due to their race and creed. Malta’s population is ever-changing and with these changes come not only new opportunities, but also new responsibilities. As a nation, we have a responsibility to make sure that we have the right structures in place to deal with our new demographics and our changing faces. These structures must be put in place both at a local and European level in order to ensure that we have the best tools in place to strengthen our resolve. At a local level, Malta’s 2020 Public Consultation on a National Action Plan against Racism and Xenophobia was a good step in identifying the available opportunities for effective change when it comes to tackling racial inequality within society. Nonetheless, we need to move forward. We need to forge ahead and formulate a concrete action plan which effectively tackles the realities that we are currently facing, as well as those which we may face in the future. These plans should be based on the European Union’s standard for tackling discrimination as defined in the EU’s Anti-racism Action Plan 2020-2025, which encourages active engagement within marginalised communities. It also projects the strengthening of equality bodies and better transposition of the EU’s equality framework. But even here, these factors alone are not enough to create the reparations needed to ensure an equal and fair society for all. We (both as Malta and as a European Union) need to tackle racial equality in an intersectional way. It is imperative that we expand Europe’s current tools to ensure that we take on an all-encompassing approach to tackle the discriminations faced by persons of colour and other ethnic minorities. Race is an intersectional issue, just like any other minority issue. Whether we are dealing with disability, LGBTIQ rights or class inequality, people who find themselves within one social category can often find themselves a member of more than one. Thus we need to arm ourselves with the right tools to create a society which caters for all variations within itself. To do this, we need to expand the Race Equality directive on the same lines as the Employment Equality directive, which seeks to combat discrimination on the grounds of age, disability, religion and sexual orientation at the workplace. By adopting an intersectional approach towards the Race Equality Directive and extending its scope to cover the same grounds as we did with the Employment Equality Directive, we can ensure that vulnerable minorities who face discrimination can find resolve in a way which is holistic. It is only by doing this that we can ensure that equality in our European Union is not a postcode lottery. There is much to be done when it comes to achieving racial equality for all ethnicities, which is also why we believe that we need to start to see leaders from all walks of life, especially other minorities, as it is impossible for the world to see minorities as their equals if we are not seen or heard at all. Earlier this year we met during the Labour Party’s LEAD programme. This programme worked towards encouraging more women to enter the political arena because there was the recognition that the world’s parliaments, including the Maltese Parliament were too homogenous and were not fully representative of Malta’s demographics. This programme brought us together as mentee and mentor- and we believe that it should be the basis for more programmes which encourage social minorities into the forefront of politics and decision making. But above all initiatives and frameworks and programmes, what we really need is to get to the root of the debate and recognize that we are all equal on this planet which we must share and thus have a responsibility to create a world which works for all of us.

Christine-Ann Deasey, MEP Cyrus Engerer


MaltaToday

Share

My EP Work

Dashing from one meeting to another, to debating groundbreaking legislation with colleagues, stopping to give interviews to the media, or drafting resolutions - there are truly no two days which are identical at the European Parliament. However, our goal remains constant: to work for a stronger Europe which is just and equal, a Europe which we all are proud to call our home.