Following its call for written evidence in May, the Youth Select Committee is holding oral evidence sessions with a range of witnesses as part of its inquiry into racism and religious discrimination. The first oral evidence session will take place in the Grimond Room at Portcullis House on Friday 8th July 2016. The inquiry comes at a time when reports have been suggesting a sharp increase in racist incidents since the EU Referendum.
The British Youth Council’s Youth Select Committee, now in its fifth year, is exploring how to tackle racism and religious discrimination, particularly focussing on awareness and education; services; and prevention. The Committee’s particular areas of interest are available in its terms of reference, which are available online. The Committee’s eleven members are aged 13-18 and include two Members of the UK Youth Parliament (MYPs), two youth councillors, a Young Mayor, one elected representative from each of the devolved nations and three reserved seats. Previous inquiries have reported on Transport, Education, Votes at 16, and Mental Health.
Bronagh Hughes, 17, Chair of the Youth Select Committee from Northern Ireland said: “In the UK today, racism and religious discrimination are ever more prevalent and divisive issues in society that need to be addressed. The fact that this topic was chosen by the UK Youth Parliament in their debate last November, highlights that young people today feel that more must be done to tackle it. It’s important that young people engage in politics and as a Committee we looking forward to hearing from a range of individuals and organisations on the work that they do to help tackle these issues.”
Racism and religious discrimination was voted as the priority campaign of the UK Youth Parliament, following their Make Your Mark ballot and their annual House of Commons debate in November 2015.
During the Youth Select Committee’s oral evidence session they will hear from interested parties who submitted evidence including bodies like the National Black Police Associate and National Police Chiefs’ Council, charities like Kick It Out and young people from various parts of the country. The Youth Select Committee mirrors the UK Parliament Select Committee structure and gives young people the opportunity to scrutinise and hold enquiries into topics of importance to them. The Youth Select Committee has received induction training and mentoring from Parliamentary Clerks and British Youth Council staff.
Friday 8 July – Grimond Room, Portcullis House
Panel 1 – Education: organisations
- Troy Townsend, Education and Development Manager, Kick It Out
- Kim Johnson, President, National Association of Head Teachers
- Jenny Barksfield, Deputy Chief Executive,PSHE Association
Panel 2 – Young People’s Panel
- Hania Sulaiman, member of youth cabinet, Trafford Youth Cabinet, andMark Bailey, Advocacy and Engagement Manager, Children’s Rights Services,Trafford Council
- Zena Al-Sadoun, Member of Youth Parliament for Plymouth, and Jenny Way, youth worker,Plymouth City Council
- Iqra Al-Sadoun, Campaign representative for Youthforia, and Elizabeth Harding, Chief Executive, Youth Focus North West
Panel 3 – Education: projects
- Alex Raikes, Director, Stand Against Racism and Inequality
- Marvin Rees,Mayor of Bristol
- Irene Hewitt, Secretary, Derry office, Ulster Project
- Amanda Naylor, Senior Manager of the Children and Young People’s Programme,You & Co
Panel 4 – Community: projects
- Jas Hothi, Sports Development Officer, London Youth
- James Kingett, Campaign Worker, Show Racism the Red Card
- Jill Wilson, Communities Together, and Director ofThe Equality Practice Ltd
- Piotr Teodorowski, Ethnic Minorities Health Link Worker, Grampian Regional Equality Council
The sessions will be open to the public on a first come, first served basis. For meetings in Portcullis House, the entrance is located on Victoria Embankment. There is no system for the prior reservation of seats in Committee Rooms. It is advisable to allow 30 minutes to pass through security checks. Committee rooms and the timing of meetings are subject to change.