European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI)

Press Release – 04.11.2002

Council of Europe racism watchdog: report on Portugal

Strasbourg, 04.11.2002 – The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), the Council of Europe’s expert body on combating racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and intolerance, today released its second report on Portugal.

ECRI recognises that positive developments have occurred in this country and notes that, over recent years, Portugal has taken a number of steps to combat racism and intolerance. At the same time, the report details continuing grounds for concern for the Commission.

There are still problems with the application of anti-racism and discrimination laws, which in practice falls short of the protection provided for by the legislation in force. Immigrants and Roma/Gypsies often find themselves in very precarious situations because of administrative failings, which hinder or delay their attempts to secure recognition of their rights, and are therefore confronted with acts of discrimination in their day-to-day lives. The lack of precise and sufficient data on these acts makes it difficult to assess the impact of measures taken to combat racism and intolerance.

This new report forms part of a second cycle of monitoring of Council of Europe member states’ laws, policies and practices in order to combat racism. ECRI’s country-specific reports (available on the internet site in English and French) cover all member states on an equal footing, in the perspective of the protection of human rights. The second set of reports examines the implementation of proposals made to the governments in the previous cycle; they provide a general up-date and also contain a deeper analysis of selected issues of particular concern in the relevant countries.