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Racist crime on the rise across Europe

Published on June 25, 2008

25 June 2008

BRUSSELS – Racist crime is on the rise across Europe, the head of the European Union’s Agency for Fundamental Rights announced in Brussels on Tuesday.

There was a worrying trend of an increase in racist crimes between 2000 and 2006, and 2007 showed a similar picture, Anastasia Crickley, the agency’s chairperson, said as she presented her organisation’s annual report.

Until 2006, the number of reported cases of racist offences rose in Austria, Britain, Finland, France, Denmark, Germany, Ireland and Slovakia.

There was a slight decrease in the Czech Republic, Poland and Sweden in the 2000 to 2006 period. The report covers 11 of the 27 EU member states that provide relevant data to the Vienna-based agency.

The overall trend could be explained with an increasing awareness of crimes motivated by racism, Crickley said. But at the same time, she called on the European Commission to pay greater attention to member states’ implementation of the EU Racial Equality Directive.

"It is obvious that the Member States are applying the legislation quite unevenly," she said.

Crickley said the situation of the Roma people was especially critical in Europe, not only in Italy. The Fundamental Rights Agency is currently preparing a study on racism against Roma.

Positive examples cited in the report are France, which has managed to raise public awareness of racism, and Britain, where a high number of punishments for racist discrimination were passed in 2006 and 2007.

The EU Fundamental Rights Agency was founded in March 2007. It collects data on human rights, advises EU members and institutions and aims to raise public awareness on complying with these rights.

[dpa / Expatica]