Downing Street has hit back at a UN group of human rights experts who claimed a controversial report into racism in the UK attempted to “normalise white supremacy”.
The UN Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent said the recent report by the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities (Cred) could “license further racism, the promotion of negative racial stereotypes, and racial discrimination”.
No10 rejected the criticism and said the UN group “misrepresents” the findings of the commission.
A major row erupted last month over the report – commissioned in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests – which found there was no longer institutional racism in the UK.
Critics accused the commission of attempting to glorify the slave trade and several experts listed in the report distanced themselves from it.
Baroness Lawrence, whose son Stephen was murdered in a racist attack in 1993, said the report had “given the green light to racists”.
Boris Johnson’s most senior black adviser Samuel Kasumu confirmed his resignation amid the growing row – but Downing Street insisted his departure was not linked to the report.
In a statement released by the UN Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner on Monday, experts said the report “repackages racist tropes and stereotypes into fact, twisting data and misapplying statistics and studies”.
They continued: “The report cites dubious evidence to make claims that rationalise white supremacy by using the familiar arguments that have always justified racial hierarchy.
“This attempt to normalise white supremacy despite considerable research and evidence of institutional racism is an unfortunate sidestepping of the opportunity to acknowledge the atrocities of the past and the contributions of all in order to move forward.”
The group urged the UK Government to distance itself from the report or risk fuelling further discrimination.
“We urge the government to ensure the accurate reflection of historical facts as they relate to past tragedies and atrocities, in particular slavery, the trade in enslaved Africans and colonialism,” the experts said.
“The distortion and falsification of these historic facts may license further racism, the promotion of negative racial stereotypes, and racial discrimination.
But Downing Street rejected the criticism.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesperson: “Our view is that this report misrepresents the findings.
“We remain proud of the UK’s long history as a human rights champion and we encourage everyone to read the original report in full.”
Pressed on the group’s claim that the report attempts to “normalise white supremacy”, the spokesman said: “No, absolutely not.
“This report in no way condones racist behaviour and in fact it highlights that racism and inequality are still problems for our country.”
The original report, commissioned by Boris Johnson, found that racism continues to be a “real force” but claimed that the system is no longer deliberately rigged against ethnic minorities.
Chairman Tony Sewell said it had found no evidence of “institutional racism”, and the report criticised the term as a “catch-all” phrase.
Mr Johnson has admitted that more needs to be done to tackle racism but said the review was a “very interesting piece of work”.
“I don’t say the Government is going to agree with absolutely everything in it, but it has some original and stimulating work in it that I think people need to read and to consider,” Mr Johnson said.