Indicators for Racism and Discrimination in Cities to Be Devised at Upcoming Experts’ MeetingResearchers and local decision-makers from Europe, North America and the Asia-Pacific region will meet in Nagoya, Japan on July 8 to evaluate anti-discriminatory policies and to elaborate indicators for racism and discrimination in cities. A report based on a study of indicators applied to six North American and European cities should offer interesting leads for discussions.
Organized by Chubu University, the International Movement against Discrimination and Racism (IMADR), the University of Quebec and UNESCO, the Nagoya meeting falls within the framework of the UNESCO initiative launched in 2004 to create an International Coalition of Cities Against Racism.
For UNESCO, the city, as the main crucible for ethnic and cultural melding, represents an ideal environment to lead the fight against racism and xenophobia and the discrimination they entail. Hence the proposal to create a network of cities interested in exchanging experiences and expertise with a view to improving their anti-racism policies. At first, regional city coalitions will be created. Working around a “lead city”, each of these regional coalitions will devise it’s own action plan. Signatory cities commit to integrate the plan into their local policies and strategies and to allot the human, budgetary and material resources necessary to implement it.
Europe has already shown the way, with the December 2004 launch in Nuremberg, Germany, of the European Coalition of Cities against Racism and Xenophobia. Fourteen cities - Badalona, Barcelona and Madrid (Spain); Gap, Lyons, and Paris (France); Bologna, Pescara and Santa Maria Capua Vetera (Italy); London; Erlangen and Nuremberg; Sarajevo; and Stockholm – signed the declaration of intent. The coalition has since been joined by Berlin, Caudebec-Lès-Elboeuf (France); Geneva; Grenoble; Lausanne; Liege; Pappenheim (Germany); Pianoro (Italy); Pontaut-Combault (France); Riga; Rome and Seville. A number of other cities have also expressed interest.
Further coalitions will be put into place progressively. In June 2005, in Saskatoon (Canada), a workshop prepared a ten-point action plan for a future Canadian Coalition of Cities against Racism. The Bangkok Municipal Authority has also recently agreed to become the lead city for the Asia-Pacific region and a series of consultations will begin as of July 2005. A Latin America and Caribbean coalition is expected after a meeting scheduled in Montevideo (Uruguay) in September 2005.
Discussions at the Nagoya meeting will be fuelled by a new report presenting series of indicators for the evaluation of local policies for controlling racism and discrimination. The report, “Indicators For Evaluating Municipal Policies Aimed at Fighting Racism and Discrimination”, was produced by the Canadian Center for Research on Immigration, Ethnicity and Citizenship (CRIEC). Based on a study of the means deployed in this domain by six cities: Montreal, Toronto, Saskatoon and Vancouver in Canada; Boston in the United States and Stockholm* in Sweden, the report offers a tool to help cities evaluate their own performance. It underlines, however, that conditions vary greatly between cities and that an indicator that is pertinent in one context may not be in another. Cities must therefore adapt this tool to their specific context.
The report’s proposed analytical framework groups policies under three headings: the city as organisation; the city as community and the city as guarantor of public order. The first section includes equal-opportunity employment programmes in city government and legal obligations; training staff on diversity and the fight against racism; available municipal services (including translation services and the employment of multilingual staff); services offered to counter racism (for example, a committee responsible for collecting complaints about racist harassment); the composition of the city council and the participation of diverse communities or groups.
The section on the city as community reports on the various types of support that the local administration can offer to community life. This can include liaison mechanisms; the financing of community or local association initiatives; support or promotion of public events such as Fight Against Racism Week; attribution of prizes of distinction or partnerships.
As for the city and public order, this includes actions such as protecting victims of racist crimes; protecting citizens from “racial profiling”; education of police officers; adoption of a declaration of principals and of an ethical code aimed at controlling discriminatory behaviour within law enforcement services; the adoption of programmes and policies aimed at improving police efficiency in the fight against racist behaviour; and the allotment of resources for the prevention of racist behaviour.
*A deputy mayor of Stockholm will be present in Nagoya to present her city’s experiences regarding the evaluation of social policies aimed at integrating all residents.
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