People of African descent face systemic racism in the EU. Moreover, European institutions are struggling to lead by example.
The report “Being Black in the EU” confirmed that black people are exposed to more discrimination than the general European population. The report by the FRAexamined the experiences of almost 6,000 people of African descent in 12 EU member states, who were surveyed as part of the Second European Union Minorities and Discrimination Survey (EU-MIDIS II).
Women of Sub-Saharan African origin and those who have a foreign nationality are currently in France five times more likely to die than other women.
Experts warn against the trivialisation of racism
“In the 21st century, there is no excuse for racial discrimination,” believed Michael O’Flaherty, director of the FRA, who commissioned the report. “We don’t need new laws, we have to apply those that already exist.”
NGOs and human rights institutions have denounced the increase of racist violence across Europe, the rise of which is being attributed partly to the economic crisis and the use of internet.
In some countries, up to 76% of young people of African descent are neither in paid work nor in education or training, compared to a rate of only 8% for the general population. In total, 14% of respondents said that private landlords refused to rent them accommodation. Furthermore, only 15% of respondents of African descent owned their dwelling, compared to 70% for the general EU population.
Violence and racist attacks
Christie Edwards, deputy head of the tolerance and non-discrimination department at the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) works on racially-motivated hate crimes in Europe, of which there is no shortage.
After all, racial tension is not unique to the United States.
The Italian Kyenge, the only black MEP in the European Parliament, receives permanent police protection. She has received death threats for having accused the Italian Lega party, to which Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini belongs, of being racist after a picture was posted by a member of the League depicting her as an orangutan.
Also in Italy, a white man opened fire at black bystanders in the name of “Italy for Italians” on 3 February 2018. Five men and a woman were injured during his wild drive.
Health and positions of responsibility
This article appeared earlier in Euractiv.