Press Release on the conference “Recognising Latin Americans in the United Kingdom”.


embajadora castroImage © Pablo Allison

Alicia Castro. Ambassador of Argentina to the United Kingdom, speaking on the Conference.

Ambassador Alicia Castro in favour of the recognition of Latin Americans in the United Kingdom as an ethnic minority


In her opening remarks at the Conference “Recognising Latin Americans in the United Kingdom”, Ambassador Alicia Castro stressed that “Latin America today thinks politics by recovering the dream of the “Patria Grande”, which implies the recovery of a “diverse ethnic and cultural identity that we can claim as ours in the UK”.

The event was held at the Embassy of Argentina in London and was jointly organised by the “Latin American Recognition Campaign” (LARC), the Coalition of Latin Americans in the UK (CLAUK) and the Consulate General of Argentina, with a turnout of over a hundred persons, including Bishop Patrick Lynch of the Archdiocese of Southwark, Member of Parliament Jeremy Colbyn, civil society representatives and NGOs that gather Latin
Americans residents in the UK, academics, media, members of several boards of London and member of the consular and diplomatic corps.

The first panel, “Latin America in the UK”, chaired by Carolina Gottardo, Director of Latin American Women´s Rights Service, referred to the current situation of the Latin community and the difficulty of assessing the real number of Latin Americans living in the UK. This, together with the lack of official recognition of the community, results in the lack of public policies towards its integration and wellbeing. Another panelist was Cathy McIlwaine, author and coordinator of the study “No longer invisible.” The research, based on data from 2008, established an estimated population of 113,500 and 186,500 Latin Americans living in London and the UK respectively. Professor McIlwaine mentioned that in the census of 2011 more than 90,000 South Americans identified themselves as such.

The second panel, “Working for the recognition of Latin Americans”, was chaired by Mabel Encinas of LARC, who referred to the steps needed to obtain official recognition, in particular, she referred to the ongoing activities taking place  at Southwark Council, which took the pioneering step of officially recognising Latin Americans as an ethnic minority. This was also described by Catherine McDonald, cabinet member of Southwark who encouraged other London Boroughs to follow suit.

Also among the panelists were Mubin Haq, from Trust for London, Gladys Medina from LARC, Lucila Granada from CLAUK and Jeremy Corbyn MP, who has introduced many bills in the British Parliament to integrate minorities into the social and cultural life of the UK. Mr. Corbyn stressed at the conference that with recognition identity comes first, and then the possibility of support from the government that can meet the challenges facing the community.

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