It was somehow appropriate that the week which saw the anniversary of Magna Carta was dominated, in the UK and abroad, by fervent discussion and debate about whether Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people enjoy the equal protection of the law.
Magna Carta is globally recognised as standing for the important principle of Equality Before the Law. However, as events remind us on a daily basis, ensuring that the law protects everyone equally is the Cinderella of Rule of Law principles. Whether it's the news that racism may be a contributory factor to BAME people being at greater risk of death from Coronavirus , or that BAME people are far more likely to be fined during lockdown, it is clear that there is still a mountain to climb, in the UK and elsewhere, before BAME communities can be confident that the Rule of Law is for them.
The Prime Minister's announcement of a Commission on Racial Inequality and the decision of Oriel College in Oxford that it wants to remove the controversial statue of Cecil Rhodes bring into sharp focus the acute challenge faced by everyone who wants to make practical progress on equal protection: how to ensure that understandable anger about symbols does not distract from the need for urgent practical action that is capable of addressing the structural causes of systemic racism.
The Bingham Centre will be playing its part in the coming months by contributing to the processes of inquiry necessary for the wrongs of the past to be acknowledged, at the same time as pressing for the urgent implementation of the most important recommendations in the Windrush, Lammy, Grenfell and Public Health England Reports.
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