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Germany and Belgium: Council of Europe’s Anti-racism Commission assesses implementation of its priority recommendations

February 28th 2017

The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) has published its conclusions on the implementation of its priority recommendations made in 2014 to Germany and Belgium.

Germany

As for Germany, in its latest report ECRI reiterated its recommendation to the authorities to ratify Protocol No. 12 to the European Convention on Human Rights as soon as possible. The Protocol provides for general prohibition of discrimination. The German authorities have informed ECRI that they maintain their position and do not wish to ratify it. ECRI concludes that this recommendation has not been implemented.

Besides, ECRI recommended that the German authorities reform their system for recording and following up ”racist, xenophobic, homophobic and transphobic” incidents in order to ensure that all cases involving such a motive are recorded. The Council of Europe experts welcome several measures taken by the police authorities and by the legislators, such as the establishment of a sub-category “hate crime” into the police statistics, as well as the amended Criminal Code that makes racist and xenophobic motives an aggravating circumstance. ECRI regrets, however, significant shortcomings that remain, and concludes that this recommendation has been implemented only partially. ECRI finds it regrettable that significant shortcomings remain with regard to the recording of racist, homophobic and transphobic incidents. Since the publication of ECRI’s last report, these shortcomings have also been highlighted by several other organisations, in particular the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), our member the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency (FADA) and Amnesty International (AI).

See the conclusions on Germany.

Belgium

In its latest report on Belgium, ECRI recommended that the authorities promptly assess the application and effectiveness of the legislation against racism and intolerance, in order to identify any gaps to be closed. ECRI notes a number of positive developments. However at the time of the adoption of its conclusions (December 2016) ECRI assessed that its recommendation was not yet fully implemented.

The second recommendation to the Belgian authorities was to conclude as soon as possible the legislative process to turn the Centre for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism into a fully independent inter-federal institution dedicated to helping all victims of discrimination. ECRI is pleased to note that its recommendation has been implemented.

Considering current political attacks on Unia’s interfederal nature, ECRI’s support of the interfederal nature of Unia is valuable: "Thanks to its inter-federal nature, UNIA ensures the accessibility of services coming within its competence to every person in the country, whatever the legislation applicable to him/her, through a central contact point, and in collaboration with the Regions, Communities, Provinces and municipalities, through local contact points to which a claim may be filed."

See the conclusions on Belgium.

Through the interim follow-up procedure, ECRI seeks to assist Council of Europe member States in fine-tuning their response to the recommendations made in its country reports.

Via ECRI website