Most EU states under-record racist attacks: EUMC

14th April 2005, Comments 0 comments

13 April 2005, BRUSSELS - The European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) said on Wednesday that EU governments including Germany are under-recording racist incidents on their territory.

13 April 2005

BRUSSELS - The European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) said on Wednesday that EU governments including Germany are under-recording racist incidents on their territory.

A report issued in Brussels by the Vienna based EUMC focused on racist violence in the EU's 15 'old' member states and said official data collection on racist violence in many countries was non-existent or ineffectual, hampering the development of effective policy responses to discrimination and racist violence against minorities.

It said only six countries - Denmark, Finland, France, Ireland, Britain and Sweden - had a comprehensive system that adequately revealed the extent and nature of racist violence in their society.

Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal and Spain had no publicly available official criminal justice data on racist crime and violence.

Data in Germany and Austria focused on the activities of extremist right-wing groups.

The study said in most EU countries, attacks on ethnic or religious minorities and non-nationals were not specifically recorded as racially motivated (or aggravated) offences, and therefore were not published through official crime statistics.

"Such differences lead to a distorted picture when comparing the raw figures of incidents of racist violence in individual member states," the centre said.

As a result, countries with the best data collection systems and strictest legislation had the highest figures for racist violence and could be falsely seen as those states with the most racist incidents.

Instead, it underlined that countries such as Britain which yearly recorded the highest number of racist incidents in the EU, could be used as a good practice example for other countries seeking to improve their data collection systems.

The centre said preliminary figures for 2004 showed an increase in racial violence in several countries, including France, highlighting the urgency of addressing the problem across the EU.

"The EU needs to know how widespread the problem of racist or xenophobic violence is. Otherwise it cannot effectively protect its ethnic minorities against the violation of their fundamental rights," said Beate Winkler, Director of the EUMC.

"Not to record such incidents means that we underestimate the problem and that its victims remain invisible," she said, adding that policy making and practical responses to the problem were also rendered difficult.

The EUMC called on governments to develop effective and systematic methods for recording racist violence, including recording anonymously the racial or ethnic origins of perpetrators and victims of racist violence.

It said police and other criminal justice agencies should encourage victims to report incidents of racist crime and violence.

DPA

Subject: German news

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