Convening of national activists and researchers on ethnic profiling in Europe
9-10 November 2011, Brussels
The Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI) and ENAR organised this seminar on ethnic profiling to progress on awareness raising activities related to ethnic profiling, particularly as regards data collection strategies, exchange of best practices in combatting practices and policies that promote ethnic profiling, and to capitalise on the pilot reports drafted in 6 countries (Belgium, Italy, Germany, Denmark, Netherlands and Ireland).
This seminar was held as a follow-up meeting to a training session on challenges and practices in the field of reporting on ethnic profiling, organised in partnership by OSJI and ENAR in May 2010. Participants were from various backgrounds (academic, NGO, institutions, etc.). They shared a common interest in addressing ethnic profiling issues in a coherent and structured way with the aim of raising awareness about the impacts of disproportionate discriminatory practices targeting ethnic and religious minority communities and to identify the ensuing threat ethnic profiling poses to the social cohesion of European societies. This first meeting was a real success, with vast input, enthusiasm and passion about the subject matter.
The follow-up meeting looked into the country reports on ethnic profiling, as well as innovative venues for advocacy, dissemination and exchange of good practices to reinforce our case at the national, regional and European levels. Our case being that ethnic profiling policies, while intended to reinforce security and protection, are based in stereotypes that reconstruct the migrant or person with visible characteristics of difference (such as phenotype or skin colour, specific clothing, such as the wearing of the hijab, among others) that signal to the police or border guards that these people are potential “criminals” and worthy of stop & search measures. ENAR and OSJI argue that simplifications are extremely dangerous and embedded in racist “othering”. Consequently, ENAR and OSJI encourage awareness raising of police, border guards, and other authorities that maintain such simplified stereotypes to avoid unintentionally discriminating against people simple based on their physical appearance.
Useful links on ethnic profiling