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ECRI Report on Portugal (fifth monitoring cycle)

In a report on Portugal published 2 October 2018, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), established by the Council of Europe, shows that the school results of students in Portugal with a migration background have improved sharply, and there was an overall decline in their early school drop-out rate. The report, which covers developments that occurred before 22 March 2018, also notes that racist, homophobic or transphobic comments by politicians are rare in Portugal and publicly condemned. Racist violence is uncommon and authorities have shown their firm opposition to it in a number of cases.

However, ECRI is concerned that no authority has systematically investigated the serious allegations of racist violence committed by several police officers, which has led to a lack of confidence in the police, particularly among Afro-descendants. The report focuses on the 2015 case of 18 police officers who are accused of torture and other crimes against six black victims, and recommends that an independent body investigate allegations of abuse and racism by the police.

One of the recommendations by ECRI is for Portuguese authorities to introduce a zero-tolerance policy in the police services towards racism and homo- and transphobia, which should be highlighted in the training of police officers. This is already being implemented by the Office of the High Commission for Migrations through training actions.

Other positive developments in Portugal included the ratification of Protocol No. 12 to the European Convention on Human Rights, the new anti-discrimination law and the granting of investigative powers to the Office of the High Commission for Migration (ACM). The competencies of the Commission for Equality and Combating Racial Discrimination (CICDR) have been broadened, although ECRI stresses that this body should become fully independent.

Source: Council of Europe