Vienna, Austria | AFP | Black people in the EU continue to face “widespread and entrenched prejudice” in many areas of life, as well as racist harassment and attacks, according to a report published Wednesday.
“Racism based on the colour of a person’s skin remains a pervasive scourge throughout the European Union,” Michael O’Flaherty, director of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), said in the foreword to the report.
Entitled “Being Black in the EU”, the report is based on interviews carried out in 2015 and 2016 with more than 5,800 people in 12 EU countries including France, Germany and the UK.
Thirty percent of respondents said they had experienced some form of racist harassment at some point in the five years before the survey.
Five percent of those surveyed had experienced a violent attack. Among those, more than 10 percent said the perpetrator was a law enforcement officer.
In all cases of violent attacks, more than 60 percent of respondents had not reported the incident to officials, with many saying they felt reporting would not change anything or that they did not trust the police.
The report also draws on respondents’ experiences of police stops.
A quarter of all those surveyed said they had been stopped by police in the previous five years, with 41 percent among them characterising the last stop as racial profiling.
The agency calls racial profiling “an unlawful practice that undermines… trust in law enforcement authorities”.
Earlier this month in the UK, police chiefs caused controversy by suggesting the expansion of controversial “stop and search” powers which have disproportionately targeted black people.
The FRA report also details respondents’ experiences of discrimination in the education, employment and housing sectors, with over a quarter of respondents saying they had faced unequal treatment in at least one of those areas in the previous five years.
For example, 14 percent said they had been prevented from renting accommodation by a private landlord because of their racial or ethnic origin.
The FRA urged governments to combat discrimination and racial profiling by police, and to ensure that victims of abuse are able to seek redress.
“A particularly unsettling pattern is that younger individuals tend to experience more discrimination and exclusion than older individuals,” O’Flaherty said of the report’s findings.