Equalities and Cultural Rights Recognition

Welcome to the equalities and cultural rights recognition page. Contained within this page you will find a selection of the various aspects that the AIS are currently working on, as well as notifications of various governmental consultations on aspects that affect our 'cultural way of life'.
Please note - The content of this page will change to reflect the needs and input from its members and the problems facing the wider Showmen community, as and when it occurs.

DEFRA consultation

New regulations for the cleaner domestic burning of solid fuels and wood

DEFRA is running a consultation on new regulations for the cleaner domestic burning of solid fuels and wood. The deadline for responses is 23.59 hours on Friday 12th October, 2018.
Please respond if this affects you by making it clear that any changes must have full regard to the needs of Showmen.
The consultation document can be accessed here.
General information about the consultation is here.
There is an online response form here.
You can also respond by email to: cleanair.consultations@defra.gsi.gov.uk
or by writing to:
Local Air Quality Team
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Seacole Building
2 Marsham Street
London SW1P 4DF


Capacity-building workshop

Using international human rights treaties to effect change

10 October, 2018. Equality and Human Rights Commission, Fleetbank House, 2-6 Salisbury Square, London, EC4Y 8JX
Chair: Carla Garnelas, Treaty Monitoring Principal, Equality and Human Rights Commission.
Andrew and Robert Wilkinson will be attending this workshop to explore how we could use some of the UN recommendations and treaties in our work.
Also we will be looking on how to use international human rights treaties in the UK Courts.
We will post our findings after the meeting here on this page.


Defamation of Character - an introduction to the latest law - 2013

How to deal with online abuse and abusive comments out on the grounds and in the wider community

The meanings of defamation are all related to the effect that the communication has upon its subject by way of the effect it has upon the community generally; it can be considered defamation in the following cases:
it is a discredit to the person
it causes the regard in which the subject is held by others to be lowered
it causes the person to be shunned or avoided
it causes the person to be the subject of hatred, ridicule or contempt

Please Note: If you have experienced this, then AIS holds the policy of advising you to get in contact with a solicitor.
If you would like to read further about this continuing problem then the following site is useful in giving you a total overview of the legal processes involved. Just follow, or choose one of the links in the menu on the left hand side
Law on the web - defamation

Other ongoing aspects

The Association of Independent Showmen to the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance of the United Nations, regarding the official country visit to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, 30th April - 11th May, 2018.

Myself and Robert Wilkinson were invited to attend on the 1st May, 2018 as a result of our submission. The UN Special Rappoerteur is a very astute and very sharp person, and was quick to home in on where some of the more fundamental problems facing Showmen were.
Further information on this meeting can be found in the upcoming Newsletter.

Meeting with Minority Rights Group and Alexandra Xanthaki (International Minority rights Lawyer) - 9th May, 2018 – London - Subject: Continuing talk regarding Cultural Rights Recognition for Showmen.

Alexandra expressed the view that whilst you cannot be seen as an ethnic minority, nor in many ways a National minority, you – Showmen – are indeed a minority. She further ventured the idea that the minority status of Showmen is based on cultural heritage.
Further information on this meeting can be found in the upcoming Newsletter.

Initial talks with ITN regarding the making of a documentary regarding the 'Cultural way of life' of the Showmen of England – July, 2018

Following on from the conversation that Andrew had with Minority Rights Group regarding 'celebrating the culture' and the fact that part of his family work in television – his uncle was one of the people involved in the setting up of Channel Four, Andrew approached ITN regarding making a documentary about Showmen. The initial idea being to film, over a year, one traditional Fairground and Circus family, as well as a new Showman that has come into the business. The response so far from ITN has been very positive, and talks are ongoing.

Would you agree?

The majority of Showmen, being part of the wider Travelling community find themselves pushed to the outskirts of towns and villages, and as long as they keep a low profile and don't rock the boat they are tolerated.

Spotlight

UN visit - Extract of sources, causes, forms and contemporary manifestations of racism, racial discrimination (by association), xenophobia and related intolerance towards Showmen:

Types of prejudice

Being aware of the Stonewall report of 2003 regarding 'Understanding Prejudice – Attitudes towards minorities' by Gill Valentine and Ian McDonald – published 2004, we would like to share with you extracts from this report to corrobarate, with examples, the causes of racial discrimination by association and related intolerance that Showmen have to endure from childhood to old age.
The report found through surveying nearly 1700 adults throughout England, and a series of focus groups and one-to-one interviews, these being held in three regions – the South West, the West Midlands and London – the following (pertinent to the travelling Showmen Community):
Types of prejudice demonstrated by the majority Britons range from aggressive at one extreme, with the most explicit carrying the threat of violence, to benevolent prejudice. With benevolent prejudice, the speaker does not intend to be less positive about a minority group but expresses stereotypical views that are negatively received. Common example of aggressive prejudice based on perceived racial discrimination by association that have occurred within the Showmen community have been where, after the Funfair/Circus arriving in the area, setting everything up and then wanting to go for a drink at a local pub, have had a large majority of the locals in the pub turn and say, ''Let's get the (expletive) dirty Gypo's'. Chairs and tables have been smashed and an extreme fight break out requiring police intervention. Common example of benevolent prejudice: 'When Showmen come into the area lots of thefts take place..'

Fitting in - the problem

An emphasis on sameness and the importance of minority groups fitting in shows a significant lack of appreciation for difference and for notions of equality and human rights. This is often manifested in terms of what ‘we’ and ‘they’ do, particularly in public places, and the perceived extent to which these groups do or do not adhere to what are regarded as traditional British values. This form of discrimination can be best described within the context of social origin. The origin of Showmen is that they are families that are Travelling, moving about in caravans; this is their culture. As a result of this they are perceived straight away by the wider population as being Gypsy's, and therefore seen to be different; both in culture and race. As a result they are discriminated across the board from this perception – 'Once they know you're a Showmen a barrier comes up.'

Ongoing problems: Planning

Planning is one of the biggest problems for Showmen, where forms of asssociated racial discrimination and intolerance takes place. Part of this problem is with the changes in the planning policy of the current UK government in 2015. The AIS understand that recognising that residential integration of all members of the society at the planning stage of urban development schemes and other human settlements, as well as while renewing neglected areas of public housing, so as to counter social exclusion and marginalization is a policy the UK government accepts, the AIS find the wording in the new Planning Definition in PPTS (2015) very concerning.