Thursday, 22 March 2012

Report says racially-motivated violence 'on the rise' in Europe

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By Martin Banks - 21st March 2012

Racially motivated violence committed both by neo-Nazi groups and other perpetrators is on the rise.
ENAR (European network against racism)

Migrants and ethnic minorities are "disproportionately" affected by the ongoing economic downturn, according to a new report.

It says the crisis "also creates fears among the general public that incite racist behaviour".

The report comes in the wake of the recent murders of children in Toulouse, France which are thought to have been carried out by a xenophobe killer.

It goes on to say the fiscal meltdown "has led to financial cuts to anti-racism activities in many countries".

The report, from the European network against racism (ENAR), was released on Wednesday - international day against racism.

It says, "Economic turmoil has resulted in increased unemployment across the board, but in particular for ethnic minorities.

"In Spain for instance, the highest unemployment rates are found among migrants from Morocco and sub-Saharan countries, with figures close to 50 per cent during the second quarter of 2010.

"Several countries also highlight the negative impact of financial cuts on anti-discrimination efforts.

"In Lithuania, for instance, the national anti-discrimination programme for 2009-2011 received less than one per cent of the funding which was initially planned for 2010."

It adds, "In addition, racially motivated violence committed both by neo-Nazi groups and other perpetrators is on the rise, in parallel to a growing success of far right parties and movements, for instance in the UK, Denmark, Hungary, Greece and Poland."

The report also states that people of African descent are "particularly vulnerable" to racism and racial discrimination in several member states, and their "visibility heightens this vulnerability".

"In the UK, for instance, black people are at least six times more likely to be stopped and searched than a white person. In Latvia, most members of the African community hold university diplomas but few are able to find a job that corresponds to their educational level," it says.

Although member states have transposed EU anti-discrimination legislation into national law, it says "few cases" are brought forward and the legal provisions are often not implemented in practice.

"In most EU countries, there is also a shift towards more restrictive migration policies with states seeking to maintain more control of their borders, and of those seeking the right to reside within EU territory."

Reaction came from ENAR chairman Chibo Onyeji who said, "Today in particular, on international day against racism, it is worrying to see that racism and discrimination continue to be so pervasive across the EU.

"Politicians must convey the message that equal access to jobs, housing and schooling are crucial to build a prosperous and cohesive society - all the more so in an economic crisis.

"We cannot afford to leave whole sections of the population on the sidelines."