Scotland must guard against an increase in racism and attacks on asylum seekers, a leading equality watchdog has warned.

Trevor Phillips, chairman of the Commission of Equality and Human Rights, said there was a clear choice facing communities who are witnessing an influx of migrants.

Speaking at the STUC annual congress in Glasgow he said the choice was between welcoming people or fearing newcomers.

He urged people to turn their backs on racists in communities and at the ballot box and showed his contempt for the British National Party by saying they should be treated as "less than human".

He said: "We will see communities standing up for asylum seekers who want to live as part of that community. We will see the Scottish government welcoming them as part of the fresh talent initiative.

"But we will also see the ugly face. We will see those who will assault a woman and baby simply because they are foreigners.

"We as a society have a choice. In England we have the BNP. The path is to keep them out We need to change in an inclusive way."

STUC president Katrina Purcell urged delegates to reject independence at the Holyrood elections, at the congress in Glasgow.

First Minister Jack McConnell will address delegates today.