Everyone has the right to live free from racism and discrimination under the law and international human rights legislation. However, racial and ethnic discrimination occur on a daily basis for so many people.
We are grounded in the anti-racism movement, speaking out against racism and injustice experienced by Black and minoritised people. As such, we are active in efforts to end racism locally, nationally and in Europe.
Due to changing dynamics in Rotherham and the impact on our Black and minoritised communities, we have become a leading voice in challenging racism.
Since 2014, it has become apparent that there is a racial bias regarding child sexual exploitation (CSE) in Rotherham, which focuses almost entirely on ‘Asian men targeting white girls’. We know this is not representative of reality as we have been supporting service users from Black and minoritised communities who have experienced CSE by men of other nationalities.
We have defended Asian, Muslim and Pakistani men who are too often labelled child sexual exploiters because of their ethnicity. As a result, we have been able to establish ourselves within the male Pakistani and other Black and minoritised communities as a defender against racism, which has created a lot more support for the work that we undertake among men and male-led organisations.
‘Get over the shock, this is reality’: challenging racism and violence against women and girls in Rotherham
Black and minoritised women and girls have been severely affected by the toxic debate on child sexual abuse in Rotherham, particularly those from the Pakistani Muslim community. A cloud of stigma and anti-Muslim racism hangs over the town, and the people who live here.
Our CEO, Zlakha Ahmed, was interviewed by the Institute of Race Relations about Apna Haq’s work under such a climate and debate.
In the interview, she discusses what an anti-racist feminist approach to tacking child sexual abuse involves and what resistance looks like on the ground. Read the interview.
“…as well as fuelling racism, the toxic racialised narrative around child sexual exploitation (CSE) has erased Black and minoritised survivors who don’t fit the white female victim/Asian male offender stereotype.”
The UK currently does not have a National Plan Against Racism (NAPAR). A NAPAR is a programme of activities that aim to improve the promotion of racial equality. Learnings from other European countries with NAPARs show that having a plan can:
- Improve the country’s alignment with international human rights standards
- Improve the country’s accountability to implementing human rights
- Raise awareness for human rights.
We are passionate about being part of the movement building towards a NAPAR development in the UK. As such, we are meeting with the European Network Against Racism (ENAR) to discuss what efforts are needed to initiate discussions and receive guidance from them.
We are particularly interested in contributing to discussions around racism that exists in the women’s sector. We are therefore exploring the possibility of collaboration and coalition building with other violence against women and girls (VAWG) agencies in the UK to take this work forward.
Please get in touch to find out more.
Our CEO, Zlakha Ahmed, is a member of the Board of ENAR, where she contributes to the strategic oversight of this anti-racism movement in Europe.
Zlakha has delivered a workshop for ENAR, on non-violent communication (NVC) and Islam: challenging Islamophobia.
Zlakha has also written a blog for ENAR, titled 'Intersectionality at the heart of working on violence against women and girls'.