Any party that claims to be democratic must also stand against intolerance and discrimination wherever they find it. We must learn the value of working together and living together. The SDLP will strive to construct a shared and equal society free of hate.
The SDLP have played a key role in the development of the Cohesion, Sharing and Integration working group, and have made significant contributions which have been adopted by Sinn Féin and DUP. Whilst we have not been able to ensure the inclusion of all of our demands, the SDLP have contributed significantly to ensuring that the CSI document is much improved on the initial draft, and is a better document for our contribution.
In the Assembly, at local Council level, in Westminster and on the ground, SDLP representatives and party workers are committed to:
- Promoting shared spaces. Public authorities need to cooperate to ensure that shared spaces can flourish, for example, police are needed to maintain security, Councils should promote these shared spaces, and public transport must be adequate to provide access.
- Working to develop mixed estates, while ensuring an equal right to housing. In particular, the victims of sectarian harassment and other anti-social crimes should not be forced out of their homes and communities.
- Protecting the public from hate through stronger incitement laws.
- Outlawing all sectarian or national flags flying on public property. Public property belongs to all of us and should not be used to offend any of us.
- Developing a strategy against hate crime for the criminal justice system.
- Preventing bands that promote hate or use paramilitary symbols, from parading.
- Outlawing sectarian chanting at football matches.
- Eliminating hate and promoting good relations - these must be cross community projects. The SDLP has for many years been working to ensure involvement and willing participation from churches, political parties, voluntary and community-based organisations, trade unions and employers.