MINELRES: Justice Initiative: New Evidence Reveals Police in Europe Target Minorities Excessively

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Wed Jun 10 16:48:43 2009


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


OPEN SOCIETY
Justice Initiative
+1 212–548–0157
info@justiceinitiative.org
www.justiceinitiative.org



New Evidence Reveals Police in Europe Target Minorities Excessively 

Contact:     
Luis Montero, 
+44 (20) 70311704, +44 (77) 98737516, 
luis.montero@osf-eu.org (Europe)

Amy P. Weil, 
+1 (212) 548-0381, +1 917-439-4922, 
aweil@sorosny.org (United States)
                                                                
BRUSSELS, 26 May 2009—Pervasive use of ethnic and religious stereotypes
by law enforcement across Europe is harming efforts to combat crime and
terrorism, according to a report released today by the Open Society
Justice Initiative.
 
Ethnic profiling occurs most often in police decisions about who to
stop, question, search, and, at times, arrest. Yet there is no evidence
that ethnic profiling actually prevents terrorism or lowers crime rates.
 
“Too many government officials equate security with harsh policing of
minority communities,” said James A. Goldston, executive director of the
Open Society Justice Initiative. “With EU elections around the corner,
European politicians should speak out against ethnic profiling and call
for greater collaboration between minorities and police.” 
 
Throughout Europe, minorities and immigrant communities have reported
discriminatory treatment by the police. From massive data mining
operations to intimidating identity checks, ethnic profiling is often
more of a public relations stunt than a real response to crime. The
report details widespread profiling in France, Germany, Italy, The
Netherlands, and other EU member states. 
 
“By relying on physical appearance as code for criminal propensity,
ethnic profiling turns the presumption of innocence on its head,” said
Goldston. “Current tactics not only alienate the very communities whose
cooperation is most essential, they also undermine counterterrorism
efforts across Europe. Fortunately, better alternatives exist.”
 
In 2006–2007, the Open Society Justice Initiative collaborated with
municipal police in Fuenlabrada, a town on the outskirts of Madrid,
Spain, in a pilot project that achieved dramatic results by moving away
from ethnic profiling. In a six-month period the Fuenlabrada police
stopped half the number of people, including far fewer minorities, and
increased from 6 to 28 percent the number of stops that uncovered a
crime or other infraction.
 
Ethnic Profiling in the European Union: Pervasive, Ineffective, and
Discriminatory is available online at: http://www.justiceinitiative.org. 
 
The URL for this page is:
http://www.justiceinitiative.org/db/resource2?res_id=104248.

___________________

www.justiceinitiative.org 

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 the following priority areas:
anticorruption, equality and citizenship, freedom of information and
expression, international justice, and national criminal justice. Its
offices are in Abuja, Brussels, Budapest, London, New York, and
Washington
DC.

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