European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI)

Annual Report 2009 [en] - [fr]

Press Release – 08.07.2010

Racist violence is growing in Europe, says Council of Europe Anti-Racism Commission report

Strasbourg, 08.07.2010 – The Chair of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), Nils Muiznieks, today expressed alarm about the general rise in racist violence in Europe. “In the last year there has been a hardening of the immigration debate and a rise in xenophobic and intolerant attitudes in general, including virulent verbal attacks and violent incidents”, he said.

The Chair of ECRI regretted that 29 Council of Europe member states have not yet ratified Protocol 12 to the European Convention on Human Rights, which prohibits discrimination in general, and called on them to do so as soon as possible.

ECRI today published its annual report, which examines the main trends in the field of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, antisemitism and intolerance in Europe.

In the report, ECRI expresses its concern about the effects of the economic crisis on vulnerable groups – in particular the rise in unemployment and cuts to social services. The negative climate of public opinion, fuelled by increasingly xenophobic political speech, has led to immigrants being held responsible for unemployment and the deterioration of security.

ECRI calls on European states to apply their laws effectively to prevent and combat racism, intolerance and xenophobia, and to fill the legal gaps that still exist. Although ECRI acknowledges that some states have adopted appropriate legislation, it also stresses that its application “often remains a challenge”.

Other issues of concern for ECRI are the persistence of the widespread police practice of racial profiling, abuses in the fight against terrorism and police brutality against vulnerable groups. The report concludes that:

  • Roma and Travellers continue to experience open hostility and social exclusion, as well as raids against their settlements and murders.
  • Anti-Black racism persists in Europe, often translated into attacks against this community, and colour related insults are frequent in sports events.
  • Muslims continue to be discriminated against in employment, law enforcement, town-planning, immigration and education, and lately they are targeted by specific legal restrictions. States need to do more to encourage tolerance of religious diversity.
  • Antisemitism persists in Europe. Attacks on synagogues and Jewish cemeteries and Holocaust denial continue to be issues of concern.

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Press contact: Jaime Rodríguez, Tel. +33 (0) 390 21 47 04,