Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) Anti-racism campaigners have condemned what they say is a “lack of progress” in tackling race hate in the EU. The attack coincides with the two-year anniversary of the EU “Anti-Racism Action Plan”.
Rights groups say that despite the plan being implemented two years ago “racialized communities in Europe continue to suffer while the Member States fail to deliver.”
The plan has, it is alleged, made “very little progress” due to a “lack of commitment from the EU Commission” towards tackling racism.
On September 16, 2020, commission president, Ursula von der Leyen pledged to effectively address racism in Europe via the EU Anti-Racism Action Plan (EU ARAP).
The Commission was lauded for signaling its intention to seriously combat racism through a series of proposed measures.
Rights groups say, however, the “negligible amount of progress made over the last two years reveals a lack of commitment and transparency leaving racialized communities far from the anti-racist Union von der Leyen promised.”
Among the EU ARAP’s most ambitious objectives is the implementation of national action plans against racism (NAPAR) in all Member States but, it is claimed, information shared by the Commission on the NAPAR implementation process has been “scarce, while national development processes have not always been very transparent nor inclusive.”
“As a result, civil society organizations have not been able to actively engage with the drafting process or support the implementation at the national level, yet have noted gaps between local, national, and EU entities including missing instructions and lack of communication across government levels,” according to campaigners.
“Although these issues are problematic, it is the far-right ideologies spreading throughout the continent that are a larger threat to the NAPARs.”
A statement issued by three groups – The European Network Against Racism, Equinox Initiative for Racial Justice, and ERGO Network – said that, recently, the French government “renewed its attacks against a civil society organization advocating against anti-Muslim hatred, citing a divergence in conceptions of diversity as its justification.”
It goes on, “In Sweden, 214 Swedish Democrat candidates who stood in the last election could be linked to right-wing extremism. In Italy, a politician with the far-right League sparked outrage after implying that the party would rid the streets of Roma people if it wins general elections later this month.
“There are many countries across the EU bloc with issues of institutional racism. Whether we speak about France, Sweden, or Italy, far-right ideology is rising and racism is being normalized to a whole new level. The EU Institutions must recognize this threat and act, or any initiative for racial equality will be dead in the water,” said ENAR Director (Policy, Advocacy, and Network Development), Ojeaku Nwabuzo.”
The statement adds, “The trend of rising far-right threats in Europe is only increasing, leaving racialized communities vulnerable to violence. In August, Alika Ogorchukwu, a black man, was beaten to death by a white Italian man in broad daylight. Despite the circumstances of the vicious attack, the police have refused to consider a racial motive for the crime. Meanwhile, the conflict in Ukraine has revealed another facet of European institutional racism in the double standards applied toward fleeing refugees.
“With the Russian war against Ukraine, Europe witnessed impressive solidarity towards the Ukrainian refugees. Unfortunately, ethnic minority groups such as the Roma Ukrainian refugees have been experiencing a lot of racism and rejection in the neighboring countries, in their efforts to secure a safe place for them and their families to date”, added Gabriela Hrabanova, Director of the ERGO Network.
“Racism is killing racialized people and it is only going to get worse. Without firm commitments, the hope for a true Union of Equality remains an empty promise. The European Commission must step up its efforts to remind the Member States of our shared values, and deliver on the EU ARAP and NAPARs. The safety of racialized communities depends on their resolve,” commented Ojeaku Nwabuzo.