ECRI: Ethnic minorities under-represented in and unprotected by police

by zoejardiniere

22.02.13 The Council of Europe’s European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI)  has published its conclusions on the implementation of priority recommendations made in 2010 to the governments of the UK, Austria, Estonia and, Albania.

The under-representation of ethnic minorities in the UK police force and lack of a system to tackle police racism in Austria were two important recommendations from ECRI’s 2010 reports, neither of which has, according to ECRI, been satisfactorily addressed. A minor increase in ethnic minority police officers in England and Wales from 4.6% in 2010 to 4.8% in 2011 was noted, but serious under-representation remains in senior positions. ECRI considers that its recommendation to Austria to set up a fully independent body entrusted with the investigation of alleged cases of racial discrimination and racially motivated misconduct by the police has not been implemented.

Also in the UK, ECRI warned that cuts to legal aid introduced in 2012 will particularly disadvantage members of ethnic minorities, who make up one quarter of beneficiaries of legal aid in employment cases. The recommendation that the government ensure access to legal aid in discrimination in employment cases has not been fully implemented.

Statelessness remains a serious problem in Estonia. According to a government survey, 7% of the population of the country is stateless.

In Albania, the 2010 report strongly recommended to ensure Roma people have access to housing. Meanwhile, a 2012 UNICEF study  has revealed that 40% of Roma households are without running water. Furthermore, obstacles remain to accessing social housing, especially for Roma who may be unable to provide the paperwork to support their application. The UK has been more successful in implementing a recommendation to address disadvantages that Gipsies face in accessing adequate accommodation.

For further information:

–         ECRI, report on Albania, Austria, Estonia and the UK, 2010

–         Institute of Race Relations, Spotlight on Racial Violence, 21 February 2013

–         Institute of Race Relations, Gypsies and Travellers concerned over coalition plans, 21 February 2013