There were in the European Union in 2013 a total of 47,210 racist crimes, according to a first-ever report that doesn’t use official sources but those provided by NGOs, according to the European Network Against Racism (ENAR). The anti-racism Brussels-based NGO states that the amount of officially recorded racist crimes is only the tip of the iceberg.
Enar states that many EU member states do not properly record and report racially motivated crimes.
There are also significant disparities between the number of official recorded racist crimes and those recorded by NGOs.
According to the Enar report, there was a rise in anti-Semitic racist crimes in countries like Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany Hungary, the Netherlands and Sweden with Islamophobic crimes seeing rises in France, England and Wales.
One of the most disturbing findings of the report is that Muslim women are more likely to be targeted in Islamophobic crimes than men. Below is an example cited by the ENAR report:
A Muslim woman, who was four months pregnant, was attacked for wearing a jilbab in the Paris suburb of Argenteuil. She suffered a miscarriage and lost her baby, according to her lawyer. Two men attacked the 21-yearold woman, trying to remove her headscarf and later cut off her hair, and reportedly shouted anti-Islamic taunts at her. The woman had also been kicked in the stomach
Migrant Tales has reported hate and racist crimes on an annual basis published by the Police College of Finland. The problem with these types of reports is that there is only one source in Finland. It’s clear that such hate and racist crimes are also the tip of the iceberg in Finland as well.
Reporting racist crimes to the police in Finland can be challenging as the case below highlights:
An African was on the bus in Jyväskylä and a young man shoved and then hit him on the back. Nobody on the bus reacted. The African walked away shaken from the incident.
After numerous calls to the police, a policeman finally told the African what he should do if he were attacked in public the next time by a stranger.”I have been on the force for 35 years and my advice is to walk away,” the policeman said. ”It’s not worth (reporting the crime) because we’ll never catch the person. My advice? Just walk away.”
Enar cites a number of reasons why only a fraction of racist crimes are reported to the police. One of these is that some may feel ashamed and that their testimony will not change anything; law enforcement authorities do not always record such crimes as such; there are inadequate sanctions for perpetrators and that justice system is not sufficiently equipped to deal with these types of crimes.
Suspected hate and racist crime reported cases between 2008 and 2012.
The NGO adds: “There were cases of violence, abuse or incitement to violence against Roma in all EU member states, and in particular those with a large Roma population.In many EU countries, including Estonia, Greece, Italy, Poland, Sweden and the United Kingdom, the most violent physical attacks reported are perpetrated against Black and Asian people. In Sweden for example, 980 crimes with an Afrophobic motive were recorded. In addition, crimes perpetrated by members of far-right groups are over-represented (49%) in racist crimes and complaints linked to political groups.
Racist crime in Europe: ENAR Shadow Report 2013-14 – To order a hard copy, contact: [email protected]