Racism & related intolerances

Despite a number of legal instruments that offer protection against racism and related forms of intolerance, ethnic and religious minorities across the EU continue to face racism, discrimination, verbal and physical violence, and exclusion.

For policy makers to take considered decisions on means to combat racism, they need information from the ground in addition to their knowledge of international and European legislation. FRA research provides evidence of racism and related intolerances, as well as the unequal treatment of ethnic minorities, while the agency’s studies also supply information about the fight against discrimination in key areas of social life.

All EU member states have accepted the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD). They are therefore obliged to prevent, prohibit and eradicate all forms of racial discrimination and incitement to racial hatred.

The EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights prohibits discrimination on the grounds of race, colour, ethnic origin and religion or belief. The EU has passed detailed legislation that addresses discrimination in various areas of life. Member states are also bound to combat public incitement to violence and hatred against people of different race, colour, religion, or national or ethnic descent by means of criminal law.

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Hate and intolerance must be combated more strongly as social climate worsens

Research by FRA shows that racism and xenophobia are a widespread problem in Europe today. As support for xenophobic and anti-migrant agendas grows, FRA calls in a special contribution to the European Commission’s first annual colloquium on fundamental rights for targeted awareness-raising measures, better data collection, and more effective access to justice for victims. The persistent lack of data is central to the Agency’s annual overview of data on antisemitism in the EU, which is also published today.

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Antisemitism - Overview of data available in the European Union 2004-2014

Antisemitism can be expressed in the form of verbal and physical attacks, threats, harassment, property damage, graffiti or other forms of text, including on the internet. This report relates to manifestations of antisemitism as they are recorded by official and unofficial sources in the 28 European Union (EU) Member States.

Promoting respect and diversity - Combating intolerance and hate

Regardless of ethnic origin, religion or belief, everyone living in the Union has a fundamental right to be treated equally, to be respected and to be protected from violence. This contribution paper to the Annual Colloquium on Fundamental Rights provides evidence of the fact that such respect is lacking, and suggests ways in which governments can ensure they fulfil their duty to safeguard this right for everyone living in the EU.

Fundamental rights: challenges and achievements in 2014 - Annual report

Annual report
European Union (EU) Member States and institutions introduced a number of legal and policy measures in 2014 to safeguard fundamental rights in the EU. Notwithstanding these efforts, a great deal remains to be done, and it can be seen that the situation in some areas is alarming: the number of migrants rescued or apprehended at sea as they were trying to reach Europe’s borders quadrupled over 2013; more than a quarter of children in the EU are at risk of poverty or social exclusion; and an increasing number of political parties use xenophobic and anti-immigrant rhetoric in their campaigns, potentially increasing some people’s vulnerability to becoming victims of crime or hate crime.