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Tackling the scourge of racism: FRA calls for respect and condemns all expressions of racism, including hate speech and violence

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FRA is aware of the recent reported increase in incidents of intolerance and racial discrimination in EU Member States. The Agency stands firmly against all expressions of intolerance and racial discrimination, including hate speech and violence.

We call on EU Member States for greater efforts to prevent polarisation in our societies and ensure the safety and wellbeing of all communities, in line with EU and international human rights law.

Despite longstanding binding EU-wide antiracism laws, there continues to be endemic racism across Europe and our societies remain divided. Too many people of African descent, Jews, Muslims, Roma, and others, in Europe continue to face intolerance and racial discrimination, including harassment, hate speech and violence, as FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty recently underlined in his speech to Nottingham University’s Human Rights Law Centre.

Over the years, research conducted by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) has exposed the various forms of racism and discrimination affecting communities across the EU. It has signposted deep-rooted antisemitism and anti-Muslim hatred, and mistreatment of Roma people and people of African descent.

Europe needs to acknowledge the extent of racism in our societies, including systemic and structural racism, and take further action to counter it. Further than that, we must actively challenge the denial of the extent of racism in our societies.

We can only do so effectively if we have comprehensive and reliable evidence. In that regard, FRA, and others in the EU, need to continue collecting human rights data to support the development lasting solutions. Data must be collected consistently and coherently across the EU, covering the experiences of all groups and communities that fall victim to racism.

Further than that, FRA calls on the EU and its Member States to work with, not just for the affected communities. We must learn from them and enable them to take a lead in the fight against racism.

We also call on the EU and its Member States to take a firm stand against all forms of intolerance and racial discrimination in Europe, including hate speech and violence. To do so effectively, we must apply the law, including by implementing judgements and delivering on criminal accountability for criminal acts. We must also invest in making people aware of their rights and remedies.

The EU’s legal frameworks on racial equality and victims’ rights, as well as the applicable international treaties and, more recently, the EU anti-racism action plan, all serve as important building blocks for effective action to root out racism.

Fulfilling our role as the independent centre of reference and excellence for promoting and protecting human rights in the EU, we will continue to collect and publish data on incidents related to all forms of racism and discrimination, including antisemitism and anti-Muslim hatred. FRA’s data serves as a platform to take targeted action to tackle racism in the EU. We will also continue to work closely with EU bodies, national governments, and with the communities themselves to promote and protect human rights in the EU.