Wales has a proud history of welcoming people from all over the world and this will not change following the EU referendum result; was the message from the First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones
The First Minister met members of Llanelli’s Polish Welsh Association as well as young people and families helped by the Ethnic Youth Support Team in Swansea.
The First Minister of Wales said:
“I am shocked and appalled by the increase in racial tensions and verbal abuse towards people from ethnic minority communities during the past week. We will not stand for any form of racism in Wales and we will tackle this unacceptable behaviour head on.
“While I have been disgusted by the racial abuse endured by some, I have also been heartened by the public outpouring of support and gratitude for ethnic communities living in Wales. I was immensely proud to hear about the note of thanks pinned anonymously on the door of Llanelli’s Polish Welsh Association. I sincerely hope all other communities follow this wonderful example.”
The Welsh Government has provided almost £500,000 to establish a National Hate Crime Report and Support Centre and has funded a range of campaigns to raise awareness of the problem. Such support has led to increased reporting of hate crime in Wales, while figures released last year suggested that hate crimes had fallen by 28% over the last seven years.
Carwyn Jones added:
“We have worked with partners to build strong community relations in Wales and I will not let this good work be undone. Nobody should suffer any form of hostility or prejudice and I encourage victims to contact the police or Victim Support Cymru to report incidents.
“Meanwhile, I will do all I can to help reunite the people of Wales. Migrants have made, and continue to make, an immense contribution to Welsh life and I want to reassure foreign nationals living here that they remain valued members of our society. Please hear my message loud and clear – you are still welcome here.”
Rocio Cifuentes, Director of the Ethnic Youth Support Team (EYST) said:
“We welcome the First Minister’s message of reassurance to the diverse communities who live in Swansea. Now is the time for all of us as individuals, communities and political leaders to redouble our efforts, and our voices of tolerance and reason need to be louder than the voices of intolerance and bigotry. We also need to ensure that everybody has the opportunity to learn the facts about migration and diversity, and to appreciate the contribution that people from different backgrounds make to Wales, rather than believing the myths and misinformation which are sadly pushing up racism, intolerance and hatred.”