National Hate Crime Awareness Week: Letter of support from Vince Cable
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats
I am proud to lend my support to National Hate Crime Awareness Week, which serves as an important reminder that the tenets of hate, division and prejudice have no place in 21st century Britain.
Everyone has the right to be who they are, without fear of abuse, intimidation or violence. Our nation is a rich tapestry of different identities and the mosaic of people that make up our communities is to be praised and celebrated. It is our duty to ensure that every person, regardless of race, religion, sex, sexuality, nationality, age or disability, is treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. We must destroy the toxic, far-right rhetoric, which does nothing but divide our communities; such views are entirely incompatible with the core values of our country.
The last year has been a test of our nation's resolve, acts of terror across the country have brought communities together, but they have also been used by some to attack ethnic and religious minorities. This is unacceptable.
Hate crime is a serious offence and one that should, in turn, carry serious consequences, that is why the Liberal Democrats have campaigned to make all hate crimes aggravated offences, allowing for harsher sentencing of offenders. At present, hate crimes are not weighted equally; crimes on the grounds of race and religion are more likely to receive a tougher sentence than crimes on other grounds, including disability and sexuality. There must be fair and equal protection for all victims.
Hate crimes inject terror and fear into our communities, eroding our collective sense of security, leaving the victims with lasting emotional, physical and psychological effects - long after the act itself. That is why they cannot go unchallenged.
Let us use this time to remember the victims and their friends and loved ones. I would also like to thank the police and other local services for your continued hard work in keeping our communities safe and secure. Finally, thank you to the National Hate Crime Awareness Week for your hard work and dedication to this important cause.
Let us all work together to keep Britain openhearted, compassionate and united.