top of page

'I Can't Breathe' - Statement by Migrant and Minority Ethnic Council of Northern Ireland

Updated: Sep 22, 2020

A joint statement issued by Migrant and Minority Ethnic Council (MME) in conjunction with Black and Minority Ethnic organisations and Diversity organisations in Northern Ireland.

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter ." Martin Luther King Jr

On 25th May 2020, police officer Derek Chauvin murdered 46-year-old George Floyd in Minneapolis USA.

Since then, waves of protests have emerged across the US and the world, in opposition to police brutality, institutionalised racism, and the use of unnecessary force.

We stand in solidarity with the BAME communities across the world and with migrants and people from minority ethnic backgrounds to strongly and unequivocally condemn the gruesome and despicable way George Floyd was murdered and we extend our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones.

Northern Ireland has seen in recent years, increasing numbers of citizens from many nationalities that make up approximately 1.8% of the population, and diverse communities have lived side by side despite the conflict here for decades, with some into their fourth generations.

We hereby, collectively, state the following:

* We call on community leaders, all political parties and the NI Executive to ensure incidents such as this do not occur in Northern Ireland.

* We call on relevant government departments to intensify efforts to ensure the elimination of all forms of discrimination based on race ethnic origin and other section 75 categories and to take steps to address, where they exist, inequalities and the reality of institutional racism experienced by BAME people in health, criminal justice, housing, education and the economy.

* We call on Northern Ireland Education Authority and education partners to actively monitor the effectiveness of bullying and harassment policies in institutions of learning. This should include policies for racial bullying and for the other Section 75 categories to ensure all children are protected from harassment, intimidation and discrimination.

* In view of all the disproportionate adverse impact of Covid-19 virus on BAME members serving in the healthcare sector and as patients, we call on all communities to adhere to government and Public Health Agency guidelines.

* In view of the Independent Review and public consultation on Hate Crime, which was completed in April 2020, we call on the Department of Justice to introduce Hate Crime Legislation and a statutory definition of Hate Crime as soon as it’s practicable to ensure equal protection for all.

* We call on the NI Executive to recognise the UN Decade for People of African Descent, and promote initiatives related to the theme “justice, recognition, and development”

* We support the democratic right to protest but call on individuals, communities and organisations to follow PHA and government guidelines.

A joint statement issued by Migrant and Minority Ethnic Council (MME) in conjunction with Black and Minority Ethnic organisations and Diversity organisations in Northern Ireland.

Organisations and groups that have agreed to this Call for Action: MME Council, Unite Against Hate (UAH) African and Caribbean Chamber of Commerce and Enterprise Foundation, African and Caribbean Support Organisation (ACSONI), EMSONI, Beyond Skin, CRAIC NI, Belfast Interfaith Forum, Belfast Islamic Centre, ImageNationNi, IassistNI, New Europeans Ireland, Black and Ethnic Minority Women’s Network, The Indian Community Centre, Prospect Awards, Belfast Multicutural Association, ReImagine NI.

The MME Council is a strategic community think-tank that seeks responses and solutions to key societal issues and whose vision is an inclusive and fair society where the rights and civic responsibilities of everyone are upheld. Contact:


Recent Posts

See All

Statement on recent hate crime

The Migrant and Minority Ethnic Thinktank strongly condemns the recent hate crime against Takura Makoni in Finaghy, South Belfast. The graffiti on his home with the message "Taura [sic] not welcome" h


bottom of page