FRA participates in European Commission’s first Annual Colloquium on Fundamental Rights

FRA took part in the European Commission’s first Annual Colloquium on Fundamental Rights, entitled Tolerance and respect: preventing and combating antisemitic and anti-Muslim hatred in Europe.

The Colloquium, which is taking place on 1-2 October in Brussels, examines the reasons behind antisemitic and anti-Muslim hatred in the EU, its impact on people's lives, and ways of combating both phenomena, taking into account their commonalities and specificities.

“FRA is one of the tools we have in the EU to combat the phenomena of antisemitism and anti-Muslim hatred. Through our large-scale surveys, we see that the situation is worrying. But victims don’t trust the police and so they don’t report their experiences,” said FRA interim Director Constantinos Manolopoulos in his intervention on the first day of the Colloquium.

“We have a solid legal framework in the EU, but as we have heard, it is not always implemented in each and every Member State,” said FRA Communication and Outreach Department Head Friso Roscam Abbing, who moderated the panel Fostering equality legislation and promoting non-discrimination policies on the second day of the Colloquium. “We now need to move forward by seeking suggestions and solutions to redress the deficiencies and remove the obstacles we face in combating antisemitic and anti-Muslim hatred.”

Ahead of the Colloquium, FRA published its annual overview of data on antisemitism in the EU, in which it underlines that the reliable and comparable figures vital to help tackle the phenomenon effectively are still missing. At the same time, FRA issued a contribution paper, which calls for greater efforts to acknowledge the ethnic, linguistic, cultural and religious diversity in our societies in order to counteract the sense of insecurity and fear currently felt by members of ethnic and religious minorities in the EU.

In 2014, FRA established a Working Party on combating hate crime, which cooperates with all 28 EU Member States as well as the European Commission, the Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to improve recording and encourage reporting of hate crime of all kinds. It also seeks to further a multi-agency approach that would increase collaboration between the relevant state bodies and non-governmental organisations, and emphasises the importance of training for the police and others who work on the front line. FRA will publish a toolkit of promising practices in 2016 to assist Member States in their efforts to combat hate crime more effectively.