MINELRES: New ECRI country reports

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Wed Sep 16 16:19:22 2009

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


New ECRI reports on the Czech Republic, Greece and Switzerland

The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) released
today three new reports examining racism, xenophobia, antisemitism and
intolerance in the Czech Republic, Greece and Switzerland. The Chair of
ECRI, Eva Smith Asmussen, said the reports note positive developments in
all three of these Council of Europe member states, but also detail
continuing grounds for concern.

In the Czech Republic, a new criminal code was adopted in 2008,
containing more extensive provisions against racism. In recent years the
Ombudsman has carried out detailed investigations into cases of possible
discrimination against the Roma. Steps have been taken to adjust the
education system so as better to meet the needs of socially
disadvantaged children.  At the same time, however, there has been a
disturbing intensification in the activities of extreme right-wing
groups. Most victims of racially motivated offences are reported to be
Roma. Little progress has been made towards improving the situation of
the Roma, who face segregation in schools and housing and discrimination
in employment. The issue of forced sterilisations of Roma women has not
been adequately addressed yet. 

In Greece, the legislative framework on non-discrimination has been
consolidated with the adoption of the 2005 Equal Treatment Act and the
2008 amendment of the Criminal Code making the racist motivation of an
offence an aggravating circumstance. In an encouraging development,
there have been successful prosecution in recent years against
antisemitic and anti-Roma publications. However, on the whole, the
legislation prohibiting incitement to racial hatred is still seldom
applied and so far, few racial discrimination complaints have been filed
due to insufficient legal assistance and information on available
remedies. Roma continue to face problems in the fields of employment,
housing and justice and the existing Integrated Action Plan should be
better implemented. Issues relating to the freedom of association of
persons belonging to some ethnic groups have not yet been solved.
Significant improvements are called for in the treatment of refugees,
asylum seekers and immigrants. 

In Switzerland, measures have been taken to foster the integration of
immigrants in areas such as employment, housing and health. The federal
bodies in charge of racism and migration have continued to raise
awareness on racism and racial discrimination. Steps have been taken to
combat right-wing extremism. However, there has been a dangerous growth
of racist political discourse against non-citizens, Muslims, Black
people and other minorities. Legislation is insufficiently developed to
deal with direct racial discrimination, which targets in particular
Muslims and persons from the Balkans, Turkey and Africa. Travellers and
Yenish communities with an itinerant life style are still faced with a
shortage of stopping sites and prejudice leading to instances of
discrimination. Legislation governing asylum seekers has been tightened
and hostility towards them has increased. 

The reports are part of ECRI's 4th monitoring round, which focuses on
the implementation of its previous recommendations and the evaluation of
policies and new developments since its last report. In two years time
ECRI will carry out a follow up assesment.

ECRI is an independent human rights body of the Council of Europe which
monitors problems of racism and intolerance, prepares reports and issues
recommendations to member states. 

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