Councillor Anna Rothery makes political history


Operation Black Vote graduate, Councillor Anna Rothery, makes history by becoming the first Liverpool Councillor to speak on the floor at the United Nations.

Last week Councillor Rothery, who chairs Liverpool City Council’s Culture and Tourism Select Committee, made a historic presentation to the Fifth session of the Forum on Minority Issues on 'Implementing the United Nations Declaration on Minority Rights: Identifying positive practices and opportunities'. Her speech, entitled 'Liverpool-A case study on minorities and effective political participation', was delivered at the UN office in Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland, with an audience of over 55 countries represented.

2012 is the 20th anniversary of the adoption by all States of this essential Declaration, which marked a global recognition that the rights of minorities everywhere must be respected, protected and promoted in the face of continuing violations of the rights of those belonging to certain communities. Twenty years on, much remains to be done to make the rights expressed in the Declaration a reality as many ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities continue to face discrimination, marginalization and exclusion and, in some countries, the terrible impacts of violence.

Councillor Rothery said,

“My work in this area started after the 1981 Liverpool riots where I realised the need for championing people with no voice, no future, no jobs and therefore no real prospects for proper stake in society.”

In 2006 she was elected as a Councillor, thus beginning her path to success as a politician highlighting minority community issues and demystifying politics, particularly to women and BME people. For many years she remained the only black Councillor in Liverpool, a city that is the historic home of Europe’s oldest black community. Following a Councillor Shadowing Scheme which OBV ran in partnership with Liverpool Counci, progress has been made and that number is currently four.

She said,

“That is still only four out of 90 elected members and is not a true reflection of our diverse communities, but we must still celebrate this progress.”

Councillor Rothery is the Chairperson of the Council’s Culture, Tourism and Sports Select Committee and Deputy Chairperson of the Overview and Scrutiny Select Committee. She is also Co-Chairperson of the North West Regional Strategic Migration Partnership. She plays an integral role in the policy development and management of minority communities in the region, a factor which also influenced her selection to speak at the UN Forum.

She continued,

“ I spoke on my transition from community politics to mainstream politics and the impact I have had since becoming elected in 2006. I was also happy to present a scroll from Mayor Anderson, re-affirming his and the Liverpool city’s commitment to the United Nations Declaration on Minority Rights. This should have a huge impact on diverse communities going forward in terms of ensuring access to all amenities, services and provision, thus allowing them to fully participate in the future of the great city of Liverpool.”

OBV’s Deputy Director, Francine Fernandes said,

“Far too often BME voices and particularly BME women’s voices are absent from the decision making table. I am delighted that Anna has participated in the UN conference, and in so doing, made political history. She is a trailblazer for her community and her determination to champion the importance of protecting minority rights and increasing minority representation has now earned her international recognition.“

OBV Staff Reporter

Pictured: From Left to right - Rita Izsak Independent Expert on Minority Isues, Councillor Anna Rothery, Jane Connors Chief of Special Procedures Brancj and Graham Fox