LATER today I will be taking part in the online annual human rights conference organised by the all-party campaign group Justice, and joining a panel reflecting on a keynote address by Sandie Okoro, the general counsel and senior vice-president of the World Bank. She will talk about her journey from black schoolgirl in South London to law school and a stellar global career in legal and financial services. Naturally, she will also talk about the Black Lives Matter movement.

The stark reality of the difference between black lives and white lives in the UK was brought to our attention again earlier this week when English athlete and Commonwealth Games medallist Bianca Williams accused the Metropolitan Police of racial profiling after the car in which she was travelling was stopped and searched while she and her partner were handcuffed

After initially robustly defending their officers, the Met have climbed down and reported themselves to the Independent Office for Police Conduct, and Williams has received an apology.

This is just one of a number of recent high-profile incidents in which young black professionals driving high-performance cars have been stopped and searched while going about their lawful business in London.

Earlier this week, Baroness Doreen Lawrence OBE was giving evidence to the Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) and I asked her about these incidents. Sadly, she is of the view that despite the fallout from the botched police investigation into the racist murder of her son Stephen Lawrence in 1993, when it comes to police on the beat in London, nothing much has changed, and racial stereotyping is still rife.

The current JCHR inquiry is looking at the unequal protection of black people’s human rights in the UK. We also recognise that in relation to policing, many of the issues young black men face are also experienced by young Muslim people.

In particular, the committee is seeking to understand why recommendations from numerous reports produced on the inequalities faced by black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people in our society have not been implemented by the UK Government nor resulted in lasting change.

One particular question we are looking at is whether the Human Rights Act has been effective in protecting black people’s rights since it came into force in 2000.

There is concerning evidence that the BAME community do not have confidence in the human rights protections which are supposed to be there to safeguard everyone in our society.

Unpublished research from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) carried out in 2018 found that people from ethnic minorities and Muslims were less likely to say that human rights work well for ethnic minorities or people of different religious beliefs, compared with Christians or white people.

One possible explanation for this is the lack of a bespoke public body dedicated to campaigning for racial equality and human rights, with an oversight function and empowered to take enforcement action.

If such a body existed, it would be less easy for the UK Government to cynically set up endless reviews in order to defuse legitimate anger and then to sweep their recommendations under the carpet. It may have been a mistake to get rid of the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) which previously had these functions.

Whilst we have the EHRC, their budget and staff numbers have been substantially cut and there is a widespread view that they have not been able to do what the CRE was able to do in relation to race and that they lack the grassroots contacts.

Not surprisingly, given her experiences, Doreen Lawrence was more cynical. She said that people in authority don’t like to talk about race. They prefer to cloak discussion in the catch-all term of “diversity”.

Society needs to listen to the experiences of Sandie Okoro, Bianca Williams and Doreen Lawrence, three strong black women from South London who have stood their ground and fought for equality before the law and human rights for black people.

READ MORE: Tackling racism in Scotland can’t wait until after independence

THIS week I met with another strong black woman, this time from Edinburgh South West, who is campaigning to tackle racial inequality and prejudice.

Eunice Olumide MBE is an international supermodel, fashion designer, DJ, actress, broadcaster and ambassador for good causes. She was born in Wester Hailes, brought up in the Calders and went to Balerno High School. She holds dual Scottish and Nigerian citizenship and she is on a mission to ensure that BAME people are better understood and respected and to tackle discrimination.

Olumide has produced a five-point plan to make sure this happens.

Her plan includes setting up the first ever BAME heritage museum in Scotland and finding space in central London for a fitting monument to the contribution made by the Afro-Caribbean community to British society. She has launched an African Diaspora Business Support Fund and she is seeking funding to direct her first short film on race relations in Scotland.

Her fifth request is being advanced through a petition to the Scottish Parliament urging the Scottish Government to make sure that pupils in our schools learn about Afro-Scottish Caribbean history and the contribution that community has made to Scottish and British society.

The Scottish Curriculum for Excellence is not prescriptive, and teachers have the freedom to teach about black history – but what would be good would be to make sure they have the resources to do so effectively. Olumide’s campaign will help achieve this and chimes with the One Scotland strategy introduced by the Scottish Government in 2008 and with the Race Equality Framework for Scotland.

Above all, her campaign is about giving black and white children positive black role models as a major tool in the fight to tackle racism.

Whilst the Scottish Government has a better record than the UK Government on these matters, there is no room for complacency and Eunice Olumide’s campaign is an important contribution to the debate about how Scotland responds to the Black Lives Matter movement.