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ECRI reports: Europe’s hardening attitudes towards Muslims, migrants and Roma

A series of reports published today by anti-racism monitors reveal Europe’s hardening attitudes towards Muslims, migrants and Roma communities.

The six European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance country reports welcome measures taken to counter discrimination but find, in each nation, reasons for concern.

The report on Iceland confirms concern about the delay in granting permission for Muslim communities to build mosques. The report’s authors are also worried by “some gaps in the anti-discrimination legislation, including the lack of an anti-racism body.”

According to ECRI, more must be done in Italy to combat hate speech and to protect Roma and migrants from violence and discrimination.

In Latvia, ECRI reports that the “Roma remain one of the most discriminated groups in Latvian society. No measures have been taken in order to simplify the naturalisation process for children born in Latvia, from “non-citizen” parents after 1991. The calculation of “non-citizens”’ pensions raises concerns of unequal treatment.”

The authors of the report on Luxembourg reveal that “the need to pass a test on spoken Letzeburgisch is an obstacle to the acquisition of Luxembourg nationality for a number of foreigners.

“The school drop-out rate is particularly high among foreign pupils. The division of labour among several bodies combating racial discrimination is problematic, since their terms of reference overlap in some cases. The ethnic origin or the language spoken by a person arrested continue to be mentioned in the media without its being necessary for the understanding of the news.”

The situation of people of Roma origin is highlighted in the ECRI report on Montenegro. It states that: “Many Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians are not legally registered and do not have any personal documents, which hinders access to their rights, and their children suffer discrimination in access to education and in the school environment.

“The Konik camp constitutes de facto segregation and living conditions there are inhuman and hazardous.”

Although there are fewer racist attacks in Ukraine, the ECRI monitors state that “the problem is far from resolved.”

They add: “Hate speech is often left untackled, although the number of anti-semitic publications has dropped. The authorities are, of course, aware of the need to deal with neo-Nazi and skinhead football fans. Nevertheless, the Ministry of the Interior has abandoned its efforts to monitor racist incidents and groups systematically. Moreover, the extent of the problem is masked because perpetrators of hate crime tend to be prosecuted as hooligans.

“The situation of Crimean Tartars has not improved. Neither has that of Roma, many of whom lack identity documents, despite some municipalities’ efforts to promote their social inclusion. Police misconduct against this and other vulnerable groups, such as migrants and asylum-seekers, is also frequently reported.”

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