FRA Newsletter - March 2009

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FRA News - March 2009

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1. FRA Activities and Publications 

Anti-Semitism Summary overview of the situation in the European Union 2001-2008

The Anti-Semitism summary overview of the situation in the European Union 2001-2008 is the 5th update of the 2004 report "Manifestations of anti-Semitism in the EU". This report presents the latest available statistical data on anti-Semitic incidents and outlines developments for the period 2001-2008. The report notes that a significant number of Member States do not maintain official or even unofficial data and statistics on anti- Semitic incidents. For these countries, the Agency provides lists of cases reported either on an ad-hoc basis by civil society organisations or through the media.
The report notes that during 2007 and most of 2008, the overall number of anti-Semitic incidents in the EU declined but this figure has risen since December 2008. While it is too early to draw conclusions, there are indications that this rise could partly be affected by the situation in the Middle East, as well as by the global financial crisis. In this context, the FRA has also collected as much information as possible on anti-Semitic incidents since the outbreak of hostilities in Gaza in early 2009. The FRA will continue to collect data in 2009, so as to present a detailed analysis in next year's update that will be published in early 2010. The report was released on 2 March.

Developing indicators for the protection, respect and promotion of the rights of the child in the European Union

Following the 2006 European Commission Communication ‘Towards a Strategy on the Rights of the Child’, the Commission asked the FRA in July 2007 to develop indicators to measure how child rights are implemented, protected, respected and promoted across the EU. As the FRA is neither a standard setting nor a treaty monitoring body, these indicators are not intended to monitor compliance with international standards and conventions, but to guide the Agency’s data collection and research, allowing it to develop evidence-based opinions. This aims at supporting the Community institutions and Member States when taking measures or formulating actions. The indicators also provide a series of good practices that EU Member States could consider applying.
The Agency aims to gradually develop a ‘toolkit’ for the assessment of the impact of EU law and policy on children’s status and experiences. The FRA has identified the following core areas in which it developed numerous indicators: Family Environment and Alternative Care; Protection from Exploitation and Violence; Education, Citizenship and Cultural Activities; Adequate Standard of Living. The indicators presented in the summary report represent a starting point, which will undergo constant refinement and expansion. The report was presented on 25 March.

Homophobia and Discrimination on Grounds of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in the EU Member States, Part II: The Social Situation

In June 2007 the European Parliament asked the FRA to develop a comparative report on homophobia and discrimination in the EU Member States, in order to assist the European Parliament’s LIBE committee in its deliberations concerning the need for a Directive covering all grounds of discrimination. In response, the FRA launched this project, composed of two parts. The first part, published in June 2008, contained a comparative legal analysis of the situation in the EU Member States. The current publication represents the second part of the project and is a comparative social analysis, based on data available throughout the EU. The report was launched on 31 March in conjunction with the LIBE Committee of the European Parliament.
According to the evidence provided in this FRA report, LGBT (lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transsexual and transgender) persons experience discrimination, bullying and harassment throughout the EU, including deadly assaults. Under-reporting is a key feature of homophobic and transphobic crime; and police officers in most Member States are not adequately trained to identify and deal with hate crime.
At the same time, the report notes that in some countries there is encouraging evidence that efforts are being made to improve the situation. For example, a number of countries have introduced anonymous reporting mechanisms, where a complaint can be submitted either via the internet, or to independent bodies in which LGBT organisations are involved. In several Member States, Pride events took place with the participation of government ministers and political parties. The EU’s anti-discrimination rules have also started to have some positive effects. In this context, the FRA calls for the support of the more comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation that the EU Commission proposed in July 2008.


2. Key upcoming FRA Publications

The following list of 2009 publications is not exhaustive. Exact publication dates remain to be confirmed.

  • EU-MIDIS: European Union Minorities and Discrimination Survey – “EU-MIDIS at a glance” and “Data in focus” report on the discrimination experienced by Roma (22 April)
  • Comparative legal study on child trafficking (spring 2009)
  • FRA Annual Report 2008 (June 2009)
  • "Data in focus" report on the discrimination experienced by North Africans (first results from EU-MIDIS) (mid 2009)
  • Ethnic Profiling Handbook (mid 2009)
  • Comparative study regarding discrimination on grounds of race and ethnicity in the area of employment (mid 2009)
  • Comparative study on National Human Rights Institutions in the European Union

3. Key upcoming FRA Events

 

  • 4th Scientific Committee Meeting, 7 April, Vienna
  • Fundamental Rights Platform Meeting, 5-6 May, Vienna
  • 7th Management Board Meeting, 28-29 May, Vienna