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ENAR works to achieve the following in this field:
Issues and challenges
There is an increasing emphasis on discrimination as a single phenomenon as opposed to an experience that impacts on a range of groups in different ways. Consequently there is a danger that the focus on racism will be diluted, and the specifics of what racism is will not be addressed sufficiently. This dilution is, paradoxically, also mirrored by a ‘fragmentation’ of racism. There is a tendency for different forms of racism to be treated in isolation, without addressing the commonality of the experience of racism in Europe.
Europe also continues to experience problems of hate crimes and violence perpetrated against religious and ethnic minorities. The manifestations of racial violence are difficult to quantify as official data collection on racist violence in many European Union countries is non-existent or requires further development. Under-recording and denial of the existence of racist crime is still common practice in many European Union Member States. It will therefore be essential to ensure that the Framework Decision on racism and xenophobia is formally adopted by all EU member states and properly implemented.
The impact of counter terrorism measures on the protection of human rights and the racialisation of the security agenda are worrying trends, which need to be monitored closely to ensure that anti-racism is part of counter-terrorism policies and that the fundamental rights of all are respected.
As the European Union's internal borders were gradually abolished, the need to create a genuine European area of freedom, security and justice became apparent. That was why EU leaders approved in Tampere (Finland) in October 1999 a set of concrete measures for achieving such an ambitious goal. This process also highlighted the need to reinforce the fundamental human rights of EU citizens and of people living in the European Union. The approach agreed in Tampere was confirmed in 2004 with the adoption of The Hague programme, which sets the objectives for strengthening freedom, security and justice in the EU for the period 2005-2009. A new EU programme for freedom, security and justice 2010-2014, the "Stockholm Programme", was adopted by EU heads of state and government in December 2009.
Adopted in 2000, the European Charter of Fundamental Rights summarises rights previously recognised in a range of sources into one comprehensive document, increasing their visibility and accessibility. The Charter prohibits ‘any discrimination on any grounds such as sex, race, colour, ethnic or social origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, membership of a national minority, property, birth, disability, age or sexual orientation’. With the new EU ‘Lisbon Treaty’, the Charter is now legally binding.
In 1997 the EU Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) was established. It was replaced by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) in 2007. The objective of the Agency is to provide the EU institutions and member states with assistance and expertise relating to fundamental rights in order to support them when they take measures to fully respect fundamental rights.
In April 2007 the EU Council of Ministers adopted a Framework Decision against Racism and Xenophobia. The purpose of the Decision is to establish a common criminal approach towards racism and xenophobia to ensure that the same behaviour constitutes an offence in all Member States and that effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions are provided.
In September 2001 EU member states adopted an action plan to fight against terrorism, revised in 2004. The strategy is built around four pillars: preventing, protection, pursuing and response. As part of a broad range of measures the European Union has in particular focused on issues including radicalisation and financing of terrorist activities. The 2002 framework decision on combating terrorism was amended in 2008 in order to include in the concept of terrorism public provocation to commit terrorist offences as well as recruitment and training for terrorism.
ENAR policy responses and reports