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Anti-African prejudice in the EU rife, survey finds
By:China Daily Global
update:October 30,2023
Oct.26, 2023 -- Nearly half of European Union residents of sub-Saharan African descent have experienced "pervasive and relentless" racism, according to a survey carried out across 13 of the bloc's 27 member states.
The poll of 6,752 people living in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden found 45 percent had been discriminated against in a variety of ways, including verbal abuse and being refused housing rental, a figure up from 39 percent in a similar study in 2016.
Austria and Germany, which have both experienced resurgences of right-wing political groups in recent years, recorded some of the highest figures, with almost three-quarters of respondents reporting discrimination, as opposed to around 50 percent in the 2016 survey.
"It is shocking to see no improvement since our last survey in 2016," said Michael O'Flaherty, director of the EU's Fundamental Rights Agency, or FRA, which advises the European Commission on policy.
"Instead, people of African descent face ever more discrimination just because of the color of their skin."
The FRA's 2023 report Being Black in the EU was based on the survey it conducted. The report said: "People of African descent are routinely met with unfair treatment and bias when seeking jobs or homes. Racial discrimination, harassment, and violence continues to haunt their daily lives. These are not isolated incidents, but recurring experiences across all aspects of life."
In 2018, the FRA reported on the widespread racism across Europe in a file with the same title.
The 2023 report said: "Five years later, it is a shameful acknowledgement to say that racism remains pervasive and relentless. Almost half of people of African descent in the EU face racism and discrimination in their daily lives, a rise since 2018."
In addition to perceived incidents of racist behavior, the report also highlighted that in the countries where the survey was carried out, young people of African ancestry were three times more likely to leave the education system earlier than the wider population.
More than a quarter of people said they had been stopped by the police in the five-year period covered by the survey, a marginally higher figure than the number who said they had been refused property rental on racial grounds.
Although their support seems to have waned since a peak in 2017, the anti-immigrant Alternative for Deutschland party has grown in support in Germany in recent years, recently winning its first mayoral office in the town of Raguhn-Jessnitz in Saxony-Anhalt, a region which has emerged as a stronghold for far-right groups.
In Austria, the right-wing populist Freedom Party, which was set up in the 1950s and first led by a former member of the Nazi party, is expected to win next year's general election.
"Being confronted with the true scale of racism is both shocking and shameful," the FRA report observed.
"These findings should be a wake-up call for action on equality and inclusion for people of African descent."
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