Members’ section
Sign in
Personal identifiers

Equinet - European network of equality bodies

Home >> Resources >> External publications >> The fight against discrimination and hate towards minorities still fails to (...)

The fight against discrimination and hate towards minorities still fails to deliver nearly 10 years on

December 15th 2017

Persisting widespread discrimination, intolerance and hatred across the EU threatens to marginalise and alienate many minority group members who otherwise feel largely attached to the country they live in and trust its institutions. These findings emerge from a major repeat survey by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), which is a key resource to the work of equality bodies. Collecting and making available equality data at national and EU levels is key to building evidence for more protective and inclusive anti-discrimination policies.

The Second European Union Minorities and Discrimination Survey (EU-MIDIS II) points to the need for specific and stronger measures to provide legal protection against discrimination coupled with effective sanctions. In addition, since 88% of ethnic discrimination, 90% of hate-motivated harassment and 72% of hate-motivated violence were not reported, much stronger outreach is needed to encourage victims to come report incidents, while law enforcement and equality bodies need the right tools to deal with these reports effectively.

Some of the other key findings include:

  • 38% of respondents were discriminated against over the last five years with North Africans (45%), Roma (41%) and Sub-Saharan Africans (39%) particularly affected. Discrimination was greatest when it came to looking for work (29%).
  • 31% of second-generation immigrant respondents experienced hate-motivated harassment in the last year. 50% of these victims were harassed at least six times in that year;
  • Fewer minority members (61%) completed at least upper secondary education compared to the general population (74%). This reduces their employment chances.
  • The results also indicate a higher level of trust in public institutions than the general population with a majority feeling strongly attached to the country they live in. They are also largely open towards other ethnic groups.

However, the impact of discrimination, harassment or violence is also clearly shown. Those who have been victims trust public institutions less and feel less attached to the country they live in.

This is the second minorities and migrants survey carried out by the Fundamental Rights Agency. The survey asked about experiences of discrimination, harassment, police stops, and rights awareness, as well as markers of integration, such as the sense of belonging and trust in public institutions, and openness towards other groups.

Read more on the Fundamental Rights Agency website:

Equinet Opinion

According to our Discussion Paper Fighting Discrimination on the Ground of Race and Ethnic Origin (2016), discrimination on the ground of one’s race and ethnic origin remains one of the most often experienced forms of inequality and one that features prominently in the work of equality bodies. In many European countries, racial and ethnic minorities, and in particular Roma, remain the most disadvantaged and persecuted group in society. Equality bodies across Europe have recorded a significant rise in race discrimination, hate speech and hate crime related to race, negative media coverage and political speeches which have flowed from refugee and migrant related issues.

Good practices of equality bodies trying to tackle such discrimination are included in the Discussion Paper, and we also look at the fields in which discrimination most often happens, and concur with FRA findings that discrimination on the ground of race and ethnic origin is most widespread in the field of employment, and the access to goods and services.

Standards for Equality Bodies

According to FRA findings, 71% do not know any organisations offering support to victims of discrimination. 62% did not recognise any of the equality bodies in their country. Among respondents who reported their experience of discrimination, only 4% reported it to their national equality body. To improve the situation, the FRA report suggests to “Strengthen equality bodies and raise awareness of anti-discrimination laws and redress possibilities, targeting particularly groups more likely to be victims of discrimination”.

Raising awareness about equality bodies and their work is a challenge that all of our members face. Equality bodies need to be supported with the necessary financial and human capacity to enable them to make them and their work better known. This would help them to better reach out to those affected by discrimination on the ground of race and ethnic origin, cooperating more with organisations representing the victims and provide targeted information in order to ensure that people know about anti-discrimination legislation and the existence of the equality body in order to reduce underreporting in the future.

That’s why Equinet supports FRA Opinion No.4, calling for equality bodies to be provided with the necessary staff and human resources, as required by the Racial Equality Directive. Beyond that, we call for European standards on the independence, effectiveness, functions and powers of equality bodies.

FRA Opinion No.4 _ EU Midis II
FRA Opinion No.4 _ EU Midis II