Two in five international students studying in Ireland claim to have experienced or witnessed racism during their time in the country, with most incidents going unreported.
The Irish Council for International Students (ICOS) claims that racism is a significant issue for international students and academics studying and working in Ireland, reports the Irish Examiner. According to the organisation’s research, which included 760 international students from 75 countries, conducted using an online survey in several languages and included two focus groups, racism is a significant issue in Irish schools.
58% of survey participants indicated that they were students at an Irish higher education institute; the remaining 42% were students at English language schools. Overall, 40% of respondents said they had encountered racism in Ireland, but just 5% said they reported it to the police.
Speaking at the ICOS’s ‘Speak Out Against Racism’ conference, Ms Laura Harmon, the Executive Director of the organisation, called for the national action plan against racism to be prioritised by the Government and for „more support for colleges to develop strategies, training and clear reporting procedures for those who experience racism.”
The event hosted speakers from academia and civil society organisations. Uppingham Community College (UCC) lecturer Dr Amanullah De Sondy, who chaired the conference, said the voices of those who have experienced racism and discrimination here must be listened to. „We must empower this interaction by listening to minority voices who are discriminated against and strengthen our institutional structures for minorities to feel safe and strong,” he said.
According to Patricia Munatsi, an international human rights lawyer and policy lead at the Irish Network Against Racism, racism is a persistent problem facing minorities in all aspects of life. „Now is the time for action in addressing racism, in its violent manifestations, in discriminatory patterns, and at its systemic roots,” she said. Munatsi said that the government needs to step up to tackle the issue, adopting hate crime legislation. „At the same time, we also need a comprehensive national action plan against racism across all aspects of life in Ireland so that we can tackle racism systemically.”