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FILLING THE GAPS IN THE OFFICIAL AND ACADEMIC DATA: ENAR PRESENTS ITS 2007 SHADOW REPORT ON RACISM IN EUROPE

pdf mise en ligne :19 01 2009 ( NEA say… n° 59 )

LIBRE CIRCULATION DES PERSONNES > Elargissement

On 2nd  December the European Parliament hosted the launch of the 2007 Shadow Report of the European Network Against Racism. ENAR helps EU gathering information on racist episodes and practices throughout the continent. ENAR is supported by a large number (more than 600) of NGOs which cooperate with it. The main aim of the network is to combat racism and to promote equal opportunities between EU citizens and third country nationals.


  Racist practices in Europe
Tuesday 2nd  December has been an important day for ENAR. The 2007 Shadow Report has been presented in the frame of the European Parliament in Brussels. The launch of the Report was combined with an intensive debate which involved the public too. The Brussels-based journalist Shada Islam, acted as the moderator of the entire debate. The speakers were frequently questioned by her at the end of their interventions. First of all it is to be noticed the presence of the most representative people of ENAR: Pascale Charhon, director of ENAR and the President Mohammed Aziz. Mrs Charhon introduced the presentation of the key findings of the Report. The main task was committed to the President Aziz who clearly displayed the situation of racism and xenophobia throughout Europe. The situation is quite alarming. Massive numbers of episodes of racism are individuated in a lot of  european countries. “The rise of right-wing parties in countries such as Austria and Denmark is seen with a certain concern and preoccupation”- said Aziz.
Shada Islam clearly stated that we must admit and take into consideration that “ the discrimination is a fact of today life in Europe”. The data gathered in the Report support all these statements. Discriminations are present in very different fields: employment, housing, education, health, etc… Roma and Muslims are the most affected by discrimination in obtaining their rights. The access to healthcare is often difficult for Roma people in Bulgaria for example and for weak minorities in Greece. In the field of education it is very often noticed that the residence status of migrants forms a requisite for accessing school education (this happens in particular in Cyprus).

Access to the employment
Migrant unemployment is spread among minorities (it is enough to think that in Finland the Muslim countries nationals affected by unemployment are five times higher than migrants coming from other countries). Just to quote the discrimination in the field of domestic work, the Spanish report (ENAR received  reports from 25 Member States , (see all 2007 National Shadow Reports) notes that minorities experiment lower treatment than normal standard. In the Basque country only the 10% of domestic workers and carers receive a decent salary.

Progression or regression?
The Shadow Report underlines some progress in the field of education and media. For example in Denmark a higher proportion of ethnic minorities is proceeding to higher education than it was in the past. In the schools of the UK it has been noticed a certain increase in children coming from ethnic minorities. In Italy a large amount of non-italian pupils enrolled  in secondary schools. As regards media, although a persistence of negative representation of ethnic minorities by media systems (and especially by the internet), some improvements are outlined in the Report. Greece and Lithuania are the most virtuous in this direction. Moreover the UK shows a greater representation of ethnic minorities in media-related employment. Any comparison is obviously made with the previous shadow reports (i.e. those referring to 2006).

A Europe without racism
A Europe without racism seems an utopia. It is not. We must strive to create it. It is – in the words of President Aziz- the main aim of the Europeans and after all of ENAR. Everyone and every organization should fight racism and discrimination- said Claude Moraes, Member of EP and chair of ARDI ( Anti-Racism and Diversity Intergroup in the EP).
The European Parliament plays a fundamental role, but the attention should come from all the national governments and civil society. Other interventions focused on the multiple discriminations and the importance of data collection in Europe. In particular it was the main concern of Ioannis Dimitrakopoulos, head of Unit “Research and data collection” of the EU Fundamental Rights Agency in Vienna.

The importance of ENAR data collection
It was questioned many times what is the importance of an alternative data collection, parallel to the official ones already carried out (FRA, Council of Europe, DG Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities of the EU Commission). The best answer came out of Natacha Kazatchkine from Amnesty International. “The Shadow Report tells stories, stories of people subject to exclusion”. That’s exactly the added-value of ENAR Report: it is written not simply from the governmental point of view, but instead from the victims’ perspective!


ENAR Annual Report 2007

ENAR website

Who is who at ENAR

“ENARgy”, the last newsletter from ENAR

RAXEN

RAXEN- List of national focal points

FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS AGENCY website

ENAR Special Report: “The situation of Roma in Europe”

 

 

 

Fabio Putortì
(University of Florence- Italy)