FRA meets with stakeholders to discuss follow-up of antisemitism survey

Ioannis Dimitrakopoulos, Head of FRA's Equality and Citizens' Rights Department, addresses a stakeholder meeting in Vilnius, 11 November 2013
Ioannis Dimitrakopoulos, Head of FRA's Equality and Citizens' Rights Department, addresses a stakeholder meeting in Vilnius, 11 November 2013
The FRA met with key stakeholders on 11 November, ahead of its Fundamental Rights Conference on 12-13 November, to discuss the findings of its survey on perceptions and experiences of hate crimes against Jews, which was published last week.

The Agency met with the European Jewish Congress, several national Jewish organisations, Member State representatives, law enforcement officials and civil society organisations in Vilnius, Lithuania, to present the survey findings in detail, hear stakeholders’ feedback, and discuss ways forward on how to follow up on the survey findings.

FRA Director Morten Kjaerum noted that the most striking findings from the survey were the high level of underreporting, the fact that respondents feel antisemitism is increasing over time, and the high level of fear that the results indicate.

Raya Kalenova, Vice-President of the European Jewish Congress, underlined that in her experience, Jews in Europe live in fear, and asked for how much longer European leaders would tolerate this.

During the discussion, the main points raised were underreporting, the level of fear, the different nature of antisemitism in different countries, and the question of perpetrators and what to do regarding inter-community tensions.

The question was raised how to build trust by communities in law enforcement as one way to increase reporting of incidents. It was noted that victims of hate crime do not report because they think nothing would change - hence law enforcement needs to build trust with communities.

Several speakers underlined the importance of inter-community dialogue, and that progress could only be made by building bridges between different groups who are victims of hate crime – Jews, Muslims, Roma, LGBT, etc.

A number of existing projects and good practices were presented, where learning can take place across groups and across countries.

The European Commission welcomed the survey findings and presented its legal initiatives and financial instruments to address hate crime.

Overall, stakeholders underlined the importance of the survey in providing evidence for policy-makers. It was much appreciated that Jews themselves were asked in the survey, as a way to address the issue beyond incomplete official statistics.