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Homenews‘Wake-up call’ for EU as report reveals spike in anti-Black racism

‘Wake-up call’ for EU as report reveals spike in anti-Black racism

Anti-Black racism is on the rise throughout Europe, with nearly half of people of African descent facing discrimination in their daily lives, a report has found.

The survey, commissioned by the European Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), revealed that 46 percent of first and second-generation Black immigrants in 13 EU countries have experienced discrimination ranging from verbal harassment to being denied a home or job. The result reveals a six percent jump since 2016.

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Discrimination is particularly high in Germany and Austria, where anti-migrant, populist movements have seen a resurgence. In these countries, more than three-quarters of respondents said they had been discriminated against in the past five years.

‘Shocking and shameful’

FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty called the scale of racism reported “shocking and shameful”. He said EU states must tackle the problem “head on”.

“Let us say this yet again: racism has no place in Europe … These findings should be a wake-up call for action on equality and inclusion for people of African descent, O’Flaherty said.

The FRA-commissioned report, titled Being Black in the EU: The Experience of People of African Descent, is based on interviews with 6,752 people of African descent in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.

Its results found that anti-Black prejudice extends across key areas of life — from housing to employment, to interactions with police.

While people of African descent are employed at nearly the same rate as their counterparts, they are far more likely to be overqualified for their role (35 percent compared with 21 percent in the general population) or be hired on a temporary contract (30 percent compared with 11 percent in the general population). Twenty-eight percent of those of African descent have suffered discrimination while searching for a job, while 23 percent report prejudice on the job.

When trying to rent or buy a home, 30 percent of those of African descent felt discriminated against, the survey found, with the highest rates of bias recorded in Finland (62 percent) and Sweden (49 percent). Such prejudice was more prevalent from private landlords than public housing officials, respondents said, with one in 10 citing private housing advertisements that “excluded or discouraged those with an ethnic or immigrant background from applying”.

Police profiling emerged as a concern as well. Nearly half of those of African descent who were stopped by the police in the past five years felt it was due to “racial profiling,” the survey found.

Overall, 30 percent of respondents said they had been victims of racist harassment in the last five years, including four percent who said they had been physically attacked.

‘Daily reality’

“This is the reality for many people in the EU today, just because of the colour of their skin,” said Doherty. “People of African descent are routinely met with unfair treatment and bias when seeking jobs or homes. Racial discrimination, harassment and violence continues to haunt their daily lives.”

“These are not isolated incidents, but recurring experiences across all aspects of life,” he added.

Despite high levels of discrimination, victims rarely report their incidents to authorities or file a complaint with an equality body due to a lack of awareness of available resources. In the last year, only nine percent of respondents who felt discriminated against said they had reported the cases, the report found.

The FRA, in response, encouraged EU states to “raise awareness of anti-discrimination legislation and relevant redress mechanisms” for victims.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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