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FRA launches new report on the application and challenges of the Racial Equality Directive

February 3rd 2012

The report analyses the progress and remaining challenges in applying the EU Racial Equality Directive, and includes a valuable overview of the role and activities of equality bodies.

fra_report_1 (Click to enlarge picture) The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) has just published a report entitled The Racial Equality Directive: application and challenges. The report draws on data and research done for more than a decade by the FRA and its predecessor, the European Union Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia, to give an analysis of the progress and remaining obstacles in applying the EU Racial Equality Directive.

According to the report, prior to the adoption of the directive, many Member States did not have a detailed legislative or institutional framework on racial discrimination. However, the findings show that all Member States now have:

  • a legislative framework in place prohibiting racial or ethnic discrimination;
  • one or more ‘equality bodies’ in place with responsibility for the promotion of equality on the grounds of race and ethnicity.

The report also identifies some of the main challenges remaining in the application of the directive:

  • National legislation and procedures to address and combat discrimination are not adequately known by members of racial minorities or even by various social partners in some EU Member States;
  • There are several difficulties that may deter victims of discrimination from using complaints procedures: legal costs; fear of negative consequences; pessimism about the ability to change the situation; tolerating or even failing to identify an instance or act of discrimination;
  • Equality cannot be achieved just by enforcing rules based on submitting complaints and following legal procedures. Measures for preventing discrimination and promoting non-discrimination are also needed. But developing policies aimed at prevention and promotion is very difficult in the absence of ethnically disaggregated data because problems are harder to identify and solutions to address them are harder to evaluate;
  • The existence of prejudicial discriminatory attitudes, especially towards minorities, is considered to be at the root of discrimination. While such a problem can be addressed in part by introducing sanctions against discriminatory behaviour, it is not enough to change ways of thinking.

To read the full report and the proposed solutions and recommendations to address these challenges, please click here (English).

The report is also available in French and German.

To watch a short interview on the report with Mr. Israel Butler (FRA Seconded National Expert), addressing the role of equality bodies and calling for adequate resources and powers for them to combat discrimination more effectively, please click here.