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Last Updated: Friday, 2 April, 2004, 21:32 GMT 22:32 UK
Filipino leader condemns NI attack
The women are nurses at the nearby Craigavon Hospital
Filipino nurses have become the latest victims of racist attacks
The government of the Philippines has said it wants to work with the British authorities to help protect its citizens after a racist attack in County Armagh.

The home of two Filipino couples in the Killicomaine estate in Portadown, was attacked last Tuesday, the second incident on the house in a week.

The women from both couples are nurses at the nearby Craigavon Hospital.

The women said they have had enough and are considering moving out.

In a statement posted on the government's website on Friday, President Gloria Arroyo condemned the attack in Portadown.

She added that she had directed her country's Department of Foreign Affairs to co-ordinate with the UK authorities for the protection of its citizens in Northern Ireland.

"We condemn this attack not only because the victims are Filipinos but because we abhor all forms of racism," she said.

Unless it is dealt with seriously and these attacks stop, it is inevitable that our reputation as a welcoming country will suffer internationally.
Anti-Racism Network spokesperson

"Racism is out of place in a rapidly integrating world seeking to rid itself of discrimination and inequality arising from colour and creed."

The Northern Ireland Anti-Racism Network said the matter showed how seriously other nations view racism.

"It is sad Northern Ireland's problems with racism are making headlines around the world," said a spokesperson.

"Unless it is dealt with seriously and these attacks stop, it is inevitable that our reputation as a welcoming country will suffer internationally."

Last month, it was revealed that racist attacks in Northern Ireland have surged by 60% in the last year while assaults on gays and lesbians have doubled.

Chinese families, Africans and eastern Europeans have been targeted during a racist campaign which has been particularly intense in the loyalist Village area of south Belfast.

Police figures for the first three quarters of the current financial year did not include the most recent incidents against ethnic minorities.

But they showed the number of racist incidents had increased to 267 compared with 167 for the same period last year.

The Policing Board urged the chief constable to crack down on rising levels of racial and homophobic attacks in Northern Ireland.

Such incidents are to be tackled as part of a 774m strategy for running the Police Service of Northern Ireland over the next 12 months.

BBC NI's Anne Dawson:
"President Arroyo said racist attacks anywhere were unacceptable"

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22 Dec 03  |  Northern Ireland
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21 Mar 03  |  Northern Ireland

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