Published on: 18/06/2020
IRC and its staff have been moved and inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement that started in the US and has spread globally. The extraordinary articulation of injustice, demand for action and self-organisation of the Black Lives Matter movement in response to the death of George Floyd have been inspirational and an emblem of hope in the fight against racism across the world.
While stemming from the specificities of US culture and history, we realise this is also the latest manifestation of a global struggle against racism. We are committed to this struggle – personally, collectively and in the mission of our organisation.
Our mission as an organisation is to promote the human right of access to safe water and sanitation to some of the poorest people on the planet, the majority of who are people of colour. We passionately believe all black lives matter, wherever you are born or live.
The BLM movement asks of each of us, our organisations and wider societies to listen, reflect and act; to do more to tackle racism and institutional discrimination. This is something IRC is committed to doing. We believe that our response now must be more than gestural and must guard against joining a bandwagon of sentiment without measurable commitment.
In this spirit, and as an act of solidarity with the wider aims of BLM movement, we will commit to carrying out an internal review on our diversity performance, chaired by the CEO, and will publish the results by the end of 2020. We will then act again to address any challenges arising in a transparent, open way.
We will start an internal dialogue with our staff, significant numbers of whom are black and people of colour. This dialogue will form part of our diversity review process. We note, that as an organisation with headquarters in the Global North, we must constantly question and interrogate ourselves and our performance. We will ask: can we do more, and if so, what?
IRC as an organisation is committed to a world of equity and equality of opportunity. But we live in a world where power and wealth are skewed and discrimination is rife. A world where those who hold power and wealth are generally invested in maintaining the status quo.
IRC exists to challenge and change that. We do so in one area of development called WASH – water, sanitation and hygiene. Where the brutal reality is one of lack of access to what should be the most basic of services and human rights. This is highlighted daily by the current Covid crisis: 2 billion people lacking clean water with which to wash their hands, 4 billion without access to safe sanitation.
We believe that the fight for these human rights is connected to the wider struggle against racism and the right to live free from the personal and institutional impacts of discrimination that Black Lives Matter exists to challenge.