Green MEP Jean Lambert addressed an anti-racism rally in Trafalgar Square to mark UN Anti-Racism Day.
Ms Lambert, who was speaking as Vice President of the European Parliament’s Anti-Racism Intergroup, will say racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism are on the rise across Europe – and urged voters to back progressive candidates in May’s European election to combat right-wing extremism.
Ms Lambert spoke at the rally alongside other politicians, as well as musicians and comedians – allspeaking out for diversity and against the politics of hate.
“Racism is on the rise across Europe – and we need to embrace an international approach to solving economic, social and environmental problems and stop scapegoating immigrants if we are to reverse this trend.
“But there is a real risk that we will see exactly the opposite, with a rise in the number of xenophobic and racist politicians elected to the next European Parliament in May,” she said.
“To make sure this doesn’t happen we need everyone – and their families and friends – to go out and vote for progressive candidates to reduce the political space for those that don’t believe in equality. Your vote counts.”
Ms Lambert added:
“We need all governments, and EU institutions, to make clear their commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion if we are to see much-needed progress on reducing hate-based behaviour, whether directed at people because of their faith, race – or just hatred of ‘the other’.
“But here in the UK we are seeing exactly the opposite to what is needed: barely a day goes by without this government saying it will deny health-care, or welfare benefits, or even the right to free movement or a private family life, to citizens of some nationality or another.
“The Government has to stop dealing in numbers and start seeing people.”