MINELRES: ECRI: New country reports: Estonia, Lithuania, Romania, Spain

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Sat Feb 25 17:49:45 2006

Original sender: ECRI listserve <Combat.Racism@coe.int>


ECRI releases reports on Estonia, Lithuania, Romania and Spain

ECRI released today four new reports on racism, xenophobia, antisemitism
and intolerance of its third monitoring cycle on Estonia, Lithuania,
Romania and Spain. The third round country reports focus on
"implementation". They examine if ECRI’s main recommendations from
previous reports have been followed and implemented, and if so, with
what degree of success and effectiveness. 

ECRI recognises that positive developments have occurred in all four of
these Council of Europe member countries. At the same time, however, the
reports detail continuing grounds for concern for the Commission:

In Estonia, the number of stateless people who have obtained Estonian
citizenship has been steadily increasing. But Estonia has not developed
a consistent policy aimed at bringing the Estonian-speaking and
Russian-speaking communities together. Estonia has yet to examine the
full extent of the Holocaust in Estonia and to give it its rightful
place in the national debate. The Roma community in Estonia is still
disproportionately affected by unemployment and discrimination in the
field of education. 

In Lithuania, the legal framework against racial discrimination has been
strengthened by the adoption of the Law on Equal Opportunities. But the
provisions in force to counter racist expression, including incitement
to racial hatred, which has notably targeted the Jewish, Roma and
Chechen communities, have not been adequately applied. Asylum
legislation and practice has undergone an important reform which, in
spite of positive elements introduced, has diminished refugee protection
in several areas. Instances of antisemitism continue to be a cause of
concern to ECRI in Lithuania. 
In Romania, the authorities have adopted an anti-discrimination law and
set up the National Council Against Discrimination, which is the body
responsible for applying this law. However, ECRI notes that this
legislation has hardly been applied at all as neither public officials
nor the general public are aware of its existence. The Roma community
continues to be discriminated against in all areas, including the labour
market and access to education, public places and decent housing. 
In Spain, there has been a recent willingness on the part of the
authorities to move from an aliens policy to an immigration and
integration policy. However, lack of awareness of issues of racism and
racial discrimination across Spanish society affects the institutional
response to these phenomena in a negative way. Racial discrimination in
a wide range of areas, including employment, housing and access to
public places still affects the daily lives of members of ethnic
minority groups, including Roma, North Africans, people from sub-Saharan
Africa and South Americans. Racial and xenophobic violence still needs
to be adequately recognised and countered. 

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