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Byline: CLARE HUTCHINSON clare.hutchinson@walesonline.co.uk

RACISM is still a "significant issue" in Wales, according to a report published today.

The research, commissioned by Race Council Cymru (RCC), found people from minority ethnic backgrounds in Wales are still experiencing racism in health, education, housing services and employment. And in many cases when racism occurs, it found victims are not reporting or challenging it, but instead changing their behaviours to "fit in".

The research is the first piece of work commissioned by RCC, an umbrella body representing race equality organisations in Wales, and includes interviews and surveys with more than 300 minority ethnic people.

The report's author, Professor Heaven Crawley, director of the Centre for Migration Policy Research at Swansea University, said: "While race relations in Wales have improved over the past 50 years, significant challenges remain. Increasing ethnic and cultural diversity associated with migration has brought new challenges for those areas of Wales which have experienced the most rapid changes.

"There are also new challenges associated with the current economic downturn and associated public sector cuts which can lead to different groups being positioned as the cause of contemporary economic and social problems." One of the most startling findings was 25% of respondents considered there is race equality in employment, with that figure dropping to 5% for people from Bangladeshi backgrounds.

There were perceptions of racism in the allocation of housing, especially among gypsytraveller communities, while health services and education fared little better, with just under a fifth of respondents saying they or their family members had been treated badly or received poor service in Wales' hospitals and GP surgeries and 20% reporting racism in their dealings with schools and colleges.

The research found almost half of respondents had personally experienced racism in the past five years, but their ethnic background made a big difference - with around of quarter of white and Chinese respondents saying they had experienced racism, compared with nearly three-quarters of Pakistani, 70% of Bangladeshi and 60% of black African respondents. …