Repor on: Racist Violence in 15 EU Member States
Comparative Report: Racist Violence in 15 EU Member States
Het Europees Waarnemingscentrum inzake Racisme en Vreemdelingenhaat (EUMC) heeft een rapport uitgebracht over racistisch geweld in de 15 EU lidstaten. Het EUMC stelt dat het aantal gevallen van racistische agressie in de Europese Unie wordt onderschat omdat vele lidstaten niet over betrouwbare cijfers beschikken. In Nederland werkte het Dutch Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (DUMC), waarvan het LBR deel uitmaakt, mee aan de totstandkoming van het rapport.
EUMC Media Release
The European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC), a Vienna-based agency of the EU, today released a report that highlights the extent and nature of racist violence in 15 EU Member States. The report warns that under-recording of racist incidents in most EU countries could hamper effective policy responses to violence against minorities. The report's central conclusion is that official data collection on racist violence in many EU countries is non-existent or ineffectual. The EUMC has critically assessed data collection mechanisms and practices in 15 EU Member States. It finds that only six Member States maintain a comprehensive system that adequately reveals the extent and nature of racist violence in their society. In most EU Member States, attacks on ethnic or religious minorities and non-nationals are not specifically recorded as racially motivated (or aggravated) offences, and therefore are not published through official crime statistics. Three Member States have no publicly available official criminal justice data on racist crime and violence. Such differences lead to a distorted picture when comparing the raw figures of incidents of racist violence between individual Member States. Countries with the best data collection systems and strictest legislation naturally have the most complete figures for racist violence. The report reveals that they can be falsely seen as those states with the most racist incidents. Instead, it finds that countries such as the UK, which consistently records the most effective figures for racist incidents and has developed far-reaching responses to racism, could be used as good practice examples by other Member States wishing to develop their data collection systems. Looking only at those few countries that have published figures for each of the years 2001 to 2003, it would seem that racist violence is somewhat decreasing. Yet, with the under-recording of incidents as a distinct possibility in many Member States, there is a serious danger of misjudging the situation. In deed, initial figures for 2004 show increases in several Member States for instance in France and the UK - and highlight the urgency of addressing the problem across the EU.
"The EU needs to know how widespread the problem of racist or xenophobic violence is. Otherwise it cannot effectively protect its cultural, religious and ethnic minorities against the violation of their fundamental rights, including their most basic rights to human dignity, life and integrity of the person", said Beate Winkler, the Director of the EUMC. "Not to record such incidents means that we underestimate the problem and that its victims remain invisible." "As a result, decision-makers will find it difficult to develop adequate policy and practical responses to the problem", Beate Winkler continued. "Such responses would for instance include encouraging victims to report incidents and building trust among vulnerable communities through visible community policing. We need to know more about the perpetrators of racist crime and adopt effective legislation that will ensure they are punished with proportionate and dissuasive penalties. Ineffectual responses send the wrong message to perpetrators namely, that their actions will go unpunished. Potential and actual victims including Roma, Muslims, Jews, Blacks, refugees, immigrants and many other groups will feel that their experiences of racism are not taken seriously." The EUMC concludes that effective data collection is paramount to combating racist violence. The report specifically recommends that:
- EU Member States, which have not yet done so, develop effective and systematic methods for recording racist violence, including recording anonymously the racial or ethnic origins of victims of racist violence
- Police and other criminal justice agencies encourage victims to report incidents of racist violence
- National legislation on racist crime and violence recognises racist motivation as an aggravating circumstance and is transferred into criminal justice practice to ensure punishment of such crimes
- The EU passes a Framework Decision to approximate criminal legislation and promote judicial cooperation so that perpetrators of racist violence do not take advantage of different standards in individual Member States
The full report and a summary with main findings can be downloaded via the link in below this screen.