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Fundamental Rights Report 2018

The 2018 Fundamental Rights Report of the Fundamental Right Agency (FRA) explores the main developments of 2017. It also outlines practical advice on possible policy responses and recommendations to address emerging challenges in several areas related to the integration of Third Country Nationals, including non-discrimination and intolerance.

Non-discrimination

FRA recommends the EU legislator to continue its efforts for the adoption of the Equal Treatment Directive proposed in 2008. The Directive would offer a comprehensive protection against discrimination in key areas of life, beyond employment, irrespective of a person’s sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation. The EU legislator should, according to FRA, proceed with concrete legal actions to deliver on stronger Social Rights protection and further implement the principles and rights enshrined in the Pillar of Social Rights.

Concerning Member States, they should ensure that fundamental rights and freedoms are safeguarded when considering any restrictions on symbols or garments associated with religion. Any legislative or administrative proposal that risks limiting the freedom to manifest one’s religion or belief should embed fundamental rights considerations and respect for the principles of legality, necessity and proportionality. Member States are also encouraged to provide Eurostat with robust and reliable equality data, so as to enable the EU to develop targeted programmes and measures to foster equal treatment. Where possible and relevant, the collected data should be disaggregated also by ethnic origin and religion, the FRA report adds.

Racism, xenophobia and related intolerance

The report focuses on the role of Member States in the fight against racism, xenophobia and intolerance. Member Sates should:

  • ensure that cases of alleged hate crime, including hate speech, are effectively recorded, investigated, prosecuted and tried, in accordance with national, EU and international laws. They should make further efforts to systematically record, collect and publish annually comparable data on hate crime to enable the development of effective and evidence-based legal and policy responses.
  • ensure better practical implementation and application of the Racial Equality Directive. They should also raise awareness of anti-discrimination legislation and the relevant redress mechanisms, particularly among those most likely to be affected by discrimination, such as members of ethnic minorities. In particular, Member States should ensure that sanctions are sufficiently effective, proportionate and dissuasive.
  • develop dedicated national action plans to fight racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. Such action plans would set goals and actions, assign responsible state bodies, set target dates, include performance indicators, and provide for monitoring and evaluation mechanisms.
  • end discriminatory forms of profiling. This could be achieved through providing systematic training on anti-discrimination legislation to law enforcement officers, as well as by enabling them to better understand unconscious bias, and challenge stereotypes and prejudice. Such training could also raise awareness on the consequences of discrimination and on how to increase trust in the police among members of minority communities.

The 2018 Fundamental Rights Report also contains recommendations in the area of border management and detention, stressing the importance of all safeguards imposed by the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights as well as those deriving from the European Convention on Human Rights.

Source: FRA Fundamental Rights Agency