Anti-racism commission publishes conclusions on Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Romania and Slovenia

European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) Strasbourg 3 March 2022
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Anti-racism commission publishes conclusions on Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Romania and Slovenia

The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) published today its conclusions on the implementation of its priority recommendations addressed to Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Romania and Slovenia in 2019.

As regards Finland, ECRI concluded that the authorities had not implemented either of the two priority recommendations. No changes have been made to the mandate and powers of the National Non-Discrimination and Equality Tribunal. The second recommendation was to remove from the Act on Legal Recognition of the Gender of Transsexuals the requirement that such persons should be infertile or should undergo sterilisation as a pre-condition for legal recognition.

Concerning Ireland, ECRI found that the government had not yet implemented, despite some positive developments, the first priority recommendation to solve the issue of the failure by local authorities to use funding allocated for Traveller accommodation. The second priority recommendation, that is to enact new hate speech and hate crime legislation in consultation with relevant civil society actors, was partially implemented. ECRI took note of very encouraging steps in the field of legislation, as well as of further initiatives, such as the training of the police force.

With regard to the Netherlands while welcoming some positive features of the Civil Integration Act in force since 1 January 2022, ECRI remained concerned about what it considered a “punitive approach” taken by the Dutch authorities to integration. More specifically, all asylum-seekers registered as such before 2022, as well as most non-EU migrants, are still obliged to pay for integration courses themselves, while facing a relatively large fine in case of failure to pass a final integration exam within three years. ECRI therefore concluded that its recommendation had not yet been implemented. The second priority recommendation concerned access to the labour market and non-discriminatory recruitment procedures. This recommendation had not yet been implemented either, ECRI concluded.

Regarding Romania, the first priority recommendation, namely, to put in place a data collection system and produce statistics of hate speech and hate crime cases brought to the attention of the police and pursued through the courts, and to make this data available to the public, has not been implemented.

Referring to the second priority recommendation ECRI welcomed the efforts made to provide criminal justice actors with training on hate crime. However, it noted that no or little action was taken to develop improved procedures for proper qualification of hate crimes nor to address underreporting, and therefore considered that overall, this recommendation had been partially implemented.

As concerns Slovenia, ECRI found that the authorities partially implemented its first priority recommendation to address serious shortcomings in the prosecution of hate speech and the absence of an effective legal remedy for the alleged victim if a prosecutor dismisses a criminal complaint or decides not to initiate prosecution. The second priority recommendation concerned gathering equality data; this recommendation had not been implemented either.

These conclusions are based on government responses and information gathered from other sources. They concern only ECRI’s priority recommendations and do not aim at providing a comprehensive analysis of all developments in the fight against racism and intolerance in the countries concerned.

 Press release
Council of Europe’s anti-racism commission published conclusions on Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Romania and Slovenia

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