Open letter: The European Commission must prioritise addressing police violence and structural racism in the EU

ENAR and 150+ organisations across Europe co-signed this open letter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to raise our serious concerns regarding the lack of reaction of EU leaders regarding police brutality against people of colour in Europe as well as institutional and structural racism.

Open Letter to Commission President Ursula von der Leyen The European Commission must prioritise addressing police violence and structural racism in the EU CC to: Vice-President Margaritis Schinas, Commissioner Helena Dalli Dear Ms. von der Leyen, As organisations working for an equal and inclusive Europe, we would like to raise our serious concerns regarding the lack of real reaction of EU leaders regarding police brutality against people of colour in Europe as well as institutional and structural racism, following the killing of George Floyd in the United States and ensuing solidarity protests in Europe and across the world. We were appalled by the statement by EU Commissioner Schinas which delegitimises the public outcry against police brutality and institutional racism in Europe. On 3 June 2020, Commissioner Schinas was quoted in the Financial Times as saying that events such as the killing of African-American man George Floyd in Minneapolis, and the wave of demonstrations against it, were “not likely . . . to happen in Europe at this scale”. “I do not think that we have issues now in Europe that blatantly pertain to police brutality or issues of race transcending into our systems. But we do have an issue in Europe, which is the issue of inequalities and income distribution — making the best for everyone of what we have.” As an EU Commissioner, Mr. Schinas should have shown empathy with the victims of widespread racism in the EU. Instead his reckless statement has denied racialised communities across the EU the recognition of the oppression they are subjected to on a daily basis. His statement is a blatant denial of the existence of police brutality and discriminatory policing in Europe, despite evidence of this reality, including from EU bodies themselves, such as the EU Fundamental Rights Agency, which found that one quarter of all persons of African descent surveyed were stopped by the police in the five years before the survey, and among these, 41% characterised the most recent stop as racial profiling. In France, young men perceived as black or Arab are 20 times more likely to be controlled by police than others. In the UK, data shows that the proportion of black and ethnic minority deaths in custody as a result of use of force or restraint by the police, is over two times greater than it is in other deaths in custody. Roma people across Europe also experience racial profiling and police violence. This is not a new issue. For decades, ENAR and anti-racist organisations on the ground have been reporting what racialised communities experience at the hands of the police across the European Union: discriminatory stop and search, abuse, violence and even death. So far, however, there has been little visibility and no public response. EU and member state leaders pointed fingers at the United States for the killing of George Floyd and police brutality, while maintaining a deafening silence on the situation in their own countries, going as far as denying that police violence is an issue in Europe. This lack of reaction reflects a denial of long-standing existence of systems of oppression in European societies, of historical injustices and persistent racial inequalities in areas of housing, healthcare, employment and education, as well as repeated experiences of state violence and impunity. The bare minimum that EU leaders should do is acknowledge the existence of and publicly condemn discriminatory and violent police practices, in particular when it results in death. But most European political leaders were not even able to do that. There is an urgent need to ensure fair and effective policing practices for all communities. EU member state governments must adopt measures to combat and prevent racism in law enforcement. This includes severe sanctions in cases of police violence, ensuring fair and independent investigations, prohibiting racial profiling, and increasing racial diversity and trainings within the police force. The EU and its Member States should also collect equality data to make visible where racial profiling, disproportionate use of force and deaths following an interaction with the police are happening. Such data should enable intersectional cross-analysis, for example to identify specific experiences of racialised women. Twenty years ago, the European Union was at the forefront of the fight against racial discrimination when it adopted landmark laws to prohibit discrimination based on race or ethnic origin. In a time of rising racist violence, persistent discrimination and racial inequality, the European Commission must have a stronger, more public commitment to address police violence and structural racism in Europe. We would be happy to meet you to discuss our concerns in more detail and propose solutions, and look forward to your response. Yours sincerely, Karen Taylor, Chair of the European Network Against Racism Co-signed by: 1. ABVV-ACOD Cultuur, Belgium 2. ACLI-Vlaanderen vzw, Belgium 3. Aditus Foundation, Malta 4. Africa Solidarity Centre, Ireland 5. African and Caribbean Diversity, United Kingdom 6. African Media Association, Malta 7. AGE Platform Europe 8. AIF+ – Actieve Interculturele Federatie vzw, Belgium 9. AKAZ – Kazumba Association, Portugal 10. Alasia Sanchia, Counsellor, London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, United Kingdom 11. Alliance Citoyenne, France 12. Altera, Italy 13. Andalucía Acoge, Spain 14. ANTIGONE – Information and Documentation Centre on Racism, Ecology, Peace and Non-Violence, Greece 15. Anti-Racist Forum, Finland 16. Apna Haq, United Kingdom 17. Arciragazzi Portici, Italy 18. ASKV Refugee Support, Netherlands 19. Asociación Musulmana por los Derechos Humanos (AMDEH), Spain 20. Asociacion Nacional Presencia Gitana, Spain 21. Asociación Rumiñahui, Spain 22. Association of African Students in Europe (AASE) 23. ASTI asbl – Associations de soutien aux travailleurs immigrés, Luxembourg 24. Ba Omar, Ecowasflanders, Belgium 25. Balbriggan Integration Forum, Ireland 26. BAMKO-CRAN asbl, Belgium 27. Ban Ying Koordinations- und Beratungsstelle gegen Menschenhandel e.V., Germany 28. BePax, Belgium 29. Café Congo, Belgium 30. CCME, the Churches´ Commission for Migrants in Europe 31. CEJI-A Jewish Contribution to an Inclusive Europe 32. Center for Equality Advancement, Lithuania 33. Center for Intersectional Justice, Germany 34. Center for Migration, Gender and Justice, Germany 35. Central Council of German Sinti and Roma, Germany 36. Centre d’action interculturelle de la Province de Namur, Belgium 37. Centre de Médiation des Gens du Voyage et des Roms, Belgium 38. Centre for Peace Studies, Croatia 39. Centre Régional d’Intégration de Charleroi, Belgium 40. Centre Régional de Verviers pour l’Intégration, Belgium 41. Centre Régional d’Intégration du Brabant Wallon (CRIBW), Belgium 42. CeRAIC, Belgium 43. Collectif Contre l’Islamophobie en Belgique (CCIB), Belgium 44. Collectif Contre l’Islamophobie en France (CCIF), France 45. Collectif féministe Kahina, Belgium 46. Collectif Mémoire Coloniale, Belgium 47. Confédération des Syndicats Chrétiens (CSC), Belgium 48. Conseil Représentatif des Associations Noires (CRAN), France 49. Discrimination Law Association, United Kingdom 50. Dokumentations- und Beratungsstelle Islamfeindlichkeit & antimuslimischer Rassismus, Austria 51. Each One Teach One e.V. (EOTO), Germany 52. Een Andere Joodse Stem (EAJS), Belgium 53. ELLA vzw, Belgium 54. EMCEMO, Netherlands 55. ENAR Belgium 56. Equal Opportunities Initiative Association, Bulgaria 57. European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN) 58. European Council for Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) 59. European Forum of Muslim Women (EFOMW) 60. European Network of Women of African Descent (ENWAD) 61. European Network On Religion and Belief 62. European Roma Grassroots Organisations Network 63. European Roma Information Office (ERIO) 64. European Roma Rights Centre 65. European Women’s Lobby 66. Federation of Roma Associations in Catalonia – FAGiC, Spain 67. FMV vzw, Belgium 68. Forum of European Muslim Youth and Student Organisations (FEMYSO) 69. Foundation for Shelter and Support to Migrants, Malta 70. Fundación Al Fanar para el Conocimiento Árabe, Spain 71. Furia, Belgium 72. Generation 2.0 RED, Greece 73. Greek Forum of Migrants, Greece 74. Grupo EducAR – Anti Racist Education, Portugal 75. Hand in Hand tegen racisme, Belgium 76. Hart Boven Hard, Belgium 77. Help Refugees, United Kingdom 78. Human Rights League (Liga za ľudské práva), Slovakia 79. IDB Initiative für ein diskriminierungsfreies Bildungswesen, Austria 80. Il Razzismo è una brutta storia, Italy 81. ILGA-Europe 82. In IUSTITIA, Czech Republic 83. Inequalities Research Network, University of Leeds, United Kingdom 84. InMenteItaca, Italy 85. Instituto de Asuntos Culturales – IACE, Spain 86. Integratipact vzw, Belgium 87. Integro Association, Bulgaria 88. Intercultural Dialogue Platform, Belgium 89. Irish Network Against Racism, Ireland 90. Jallow Momodou, General Rapporteur on combating racism and intolerance, Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination, Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly 91. Jesuit Refugee Service Europe 92. Jesuit Refugee Service Malta 93. Job@Ubuntu, Belgium 94. Kaneza Karen, former ENAR board member, Belgium 95. KARAMAH EU 96. Killion Munyama, Polish MP 97. King Brenda, ACDiversity, United Kingdom 98. KISA – Action for equality, support, anti-racism, Cyprus 99. Kopin – Koperazzjoni Internazzjonali, Malta 100. Kreativ Research Association-Center for Media Studies and Social Research, Romania 101. La Voix des Rroms, France 102. Lallab, France 103. Le Monde des Possibles, Belgium 104. Ligue des droits humains, Belgium 105. Malta Emigrants’ Commission, Malta 106. Merhaba, Belgium 107. Migrant Tales, Finland 108. Migrant Women Association, Malta 109. Minderhedenforum, Belgium 110. MOC, Belgium 111. Movimento di Cooperazione Educativa di Torino, Italy 112. MRAX ASBL, Mouvement contre le Racisme, l’Antisémitisme et la Xénophobie, Belgium 113. Muslim Association of Greece, Greece 114. Mwinda Kitoko vzw, Belgium 115. Netzwerk Rassismus und Diskriminierungsfreies Bayern e.V., Germany 116. Nevo Parudimos Association, Romania 117. NiLi, Network Italiano dei Leader per l’Inclusione, Italy 118. Objectif, mouvement pour l’égalité des droits asbl, Belgium 119. ORBIT vzw, Belgium 120. Pan-African Movement for Justice, Sweden 121. Peregrina, Austria 122. Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM) 123. Por Ti Mujer, Spain 124. Quaker Council for European Affairs 125. Queer Base – Welcome & Support for LGBTIQ Refugees, Austria 126. Rainbowhouse Brussels, Belgium 127. Red Acoge, Spain 128. Red AMINVI, Spain 129. Red Española de Inmigración y Ayuda al Refugiado, Spain 130. Refugee Rights Europe 131. Reghif Mouhad, Bruxelles Panthères, Belgium 132. Regional Roma Educational Youth Association – RROMA, North Macedonia 133. Rete21marzo, Italy 134. REVIBRA Europe – European Support Network to Brazilian women in Europe 135. Roma Active Albania 136. Roma Community Centre, Lithuania 137. Roma Education Fund 138. Roma Entrepreneurship Development Initiative REDI 139. Roots vzw, Belgium 140. Samenlevingsopbouw, Belgium 141. SEER vzw, Belgium 142. SHARE Forum, Belgium 143. Siempre-Making Latin Women Visible, Belgium 144. Slovo 21, Czech Republic 145. SolidarityNow, Greece 146. SOS Malta, Malta 147. Stichting OCAN, Netherlands 148. Stichting voor mensen zonder verblijfsvergunning – STIL Utrecht, Netherlands 149. Tayush, Belgium 150. Uganda Association of Ireland, Ireland 151. UNESCO Inclusive Policy Lab – People of of African Descent and the SDGs e-team 152. Union des Progressistes Juifs de Belgique (UPJB), Belgium 153. Vaiya Alfiaz, former coordinator of the EP Anti-Racism and Diversity Intergroup 154. Verein Schwarze Frauen Community, Austria 155. Victoria Deluxe vzw, Belgium 156. Vie Féminine, Belgium 157. Voice of Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians, Kosovo 158. Waterford Integration Services, Ireland 159. WoW e.V., Germany Download the letter in pdf format open_letter_to_european_commission_president_ursula_von_der_leyen_emailready_12062020_2_.pdf

Attached documents


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Aenean commodo ligula eget dolor. Aenean massa. Cum sociis ultricies nec