MINELRES: Experts Meeting Addresses Ethnic Profiling By Police In Europe

MINELRES moderator minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Fri Jan 28 15:27:11 2005

Original sender: Justice Initiative <info@justiceinitiative.org>


Budapest, January 26, 2005-A workshop in Budapest will examine police
discrimination against minorities in five European countries and Russia
on January 28-29.

Convened by the Justice Initiative, the meeting brings together experts
from the United States, the United Kingdom, and European regional
bodies-including the European Union, the Council of Europe, and the
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe-to identify tools
for documenting and addressing ethnic profiling practices and to develop
legal and policy remedies.

Broadly speaking, "ethnic profiling" involves the use of ethnic
stereotypes by law enforcement officers as a factor in determining who
has been, is, or may be involved in criminal activity. Ethnic profiling
violates rights to equal treatment. It may also undermine law
enforcement effectiveness.

Across Europe, allegations of racism in policing and criminal justice
are widespread. Governmental and civil society monitoring bodies have
raised concerns about ethnic profiling by the police in a number of
European countries.

In the U.S. and U.K., efforts to address police discrimination in stop
and search operations have been underway for a decade. Data gathering
has been critical to identifying profiling patterns and possible

For reasons of history, politics and, in some cases, law, data on
ethnicity is rare in many European countries. In order to combat ethnic
profiling, information gathering must be undertaken in a form which
simultaneously fulfils governmental obligations to combat
discrimination, and safeguards individual privacy and data protection
interests. It will be essential to involve members of affected minority
and immigrant groups in the design, conduct and analysis of ethnic data
collection efforts.

The Budapest meeting will explore opportunities and impediments to
gathering ethnic data on police stop and search practices in six
countries during 2005.

Further information is available on our website:


The Open Society Justice Initiative, an operational program of the Open
Society Institute (OSI), pursues law reform activities grounded in the
protection of human rights, and contributes to the development of legal
capacity for open societies worldwide. The Justice Initiative combines
litigation, legal advocacy, technical assistance, and the dissemination
of knowledge to secure advances in five priority areas: national
criminal justice, international justice, freedom of information and
expression, equality and citizenship, and anticorruption. Its offices
are in Abuja, Budapest, and New York.