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EU report, ‘Racial violence in UK media and political discourse’


Hate against migrants, Muslims, Jews, asylum-seekers and Gypsies and Travellers on the rise.



05 March 2010. An EU report has called for dissolution of organisations it describes as ‘racist’.

Though the report released by the `European Commission against Racism and Intolerance’ (ECRI) for the Council of Europe has not specifically recommended dissolution of the British National Party, it has described the party’s electoral success as ‘cause of deep concern’.

Reacting sharply to the report, the BNP has asserted that it is clear from the context of the report that dissolution is what is intended.

The report has asserted that the ECRI is “deeply concerned” by the significant local support built by BNP in certain areas and by the election of two BNP members to the European Parliament in June 2009.

‘ECRI is deeply concerned that this combination of factors has resulted in providing the BNP with a platform that could make overtly racist discourse more common in British society’, says the report, stressing the party’s  increasingly anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant views and Griffin’s previous conviction for the distribution of material likely to incite racial hatred.

Concern is expressed in general for the increase in racial violence and for the lack of effort in  to prevent it from occurring.

More racist incidents and racist offences have been reported, including antisemitic incidents, which remain high.

Media is heavily criticised for regularly presenting Muslims, migrants, asylum-seekers and Gypsies and Travellers, in a negative light, especially the tabloid press, while mainstream media Increasingly features antisemitic discourse. This goes hand-in-hand with a political debate that continues to include elements of racist and xenophobic discourse. ECRI recommends that the authorities take measures to tackle the exploitation of racism in politics and in the media.

While progress has been made towards eliminating discrimination, many inequalities remain.

Refugees and asylum-seekers remain vulnerable to destitution, wrong decisions and wrongful detention, and the tone of public discourse remains frequently hostile towards them.
At the same time, measures put forward by the authorities as part of proposals to consolidate immigration legislation foreshadow generally more restrictive policies in this field, and hostility towards migrant workers appears to be increasing.

Black children are still around twice as likely as others to be permanently excluded from school, and outcomes in the field of de facto ethnic and religious segregation in schools also do not seem to have improved significantly.

Not enough has been done to eliminate prejudices and discrimination in the workplace, for example against Muslims; Black and minority ethnic groups are also under-represented across the public sector. In parallel, discrimination law has become more complex, meaning victims need legal assistance in this field.

Some ethnic minorities continue to face specific health problems, and their health in general is vulnerable to conditions of social and economic disadvantage.

Ethnic minorities continue to be over-represented in the prison population, and their proportion continues to rise.
Overall, Black and minority ethnic people are more likely to be imprisoned than White people, and more likely than White people to die in prison.

Black men are also around four times more likely than White men to be included in the national DNA database.

Gypsies and Travellers are still among the most disadvantaged minority ethnic groups in the United Kingdom and the most likely to face discrimination in all fields of daily life, and they face some of the most severe levels of hostility and prejudice. ECRI strongly encourages authorities to provide tehm access to adequate accommodation.

Anti-terror provisions also continue to cause concern. Stops and searches under anti-terror legislation disproportionately affect members of Black and minority ethnic communities.  Research has shown that Muslims feel stigmatised and alienated by these measures, and young Muslims who have been regularly stopped and searched feel increasingly marginalised.

Parts of the ‘Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009’, are also of concern: ‘As regards  to citizenship, care needs to be taken to ensure that the implementation of concepts such as “earned”, “probationary” and “active citizenship” and longer qualifying periods for naturalisation do not hinder the integration process.’  

Finally, the ECRI once again recommends  that the United Kingdom sign and ratify Protocol No. 12 to the European Convention on Human
Rights, which sets forth a general prohibition of discrimination. 

Download the report here: ECRI REPORT ON THE UNITED KINGDOM (Fourth Monitoring Cycle)
 

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