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What is Action on Sectarianism?

YouthLink Scotland, the National Agency for Youth Work has set up the first independent public website designed to challenge sectarianism in Scotland, supported by the Scottish Government.

Accessible on computers, tablets and mobile phones, this website will act as a central gateway to information and resources tackle sectarianism in Scotland by providing tailored user access to four distinct target groups:

Children and Young people

Adults: parents, carers, community groups

AoS Network: teachers, youth workers, academics, policy officers, community activists

The BBC reported today that MSPs have voted to urge the Scottish government to repeal its Offensive Behaviour at Football Act. 

All of the opposition parties back scrapping the act, and came together to give the SNP government a symbolic defeat.

SNP MSPs defended the legislation, saying that opponents have failed to put forward any workable alternatives.

The Offensive Behaviour at Football Act (OBFA), which came into force as law in 2012, was put through by the votes of the SNP majority government of the time, despite all other parties being in opposition. 

Given the SNP no longer holds a majority government, it has come under pressure from opposition parties who maintain that the law is poorly written, unnecessary in light of existing offences and unfairly targets football fans.

Conservative MSP Douglas Ross put forward a motion for debate underlining that "sectarian behaviour and hate crime are a blight on society in Scotland and should not be tolerated under any circumstances", but adding that "there are laws in place to prosecute acts of hatred" other than the OBFA.

Labour MSP James Kelly, who has lodged a member's bill to repeal the legislation, said the act had been a "failure", and argues it has been ineffective in dealing with sectarianism. He said there should not be a law that targets one section of sports fans alone.

Minister for Community Safety Annabelle Ewing said afterwards that the vote "threatens to set us back as a country in our efforts to effectively combat prejudice, hate crime and sectarianism".

She also said: "The result of the vote sends completely the wrong message about how serious parliament as a whole is about doing so - but the Scottish Government remains absolutely committed to that objective.

For more information you can read the full article from the BBC here

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