Migrant hate crime is spreading Posted November 27, 2016

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An arson of a reception facility in Italy. An intensification of anti-migrant attitudes, mostly expressed on line, in Bulgaria. An increasing of hate speech incidents towards ethnic minorities in Denmark as well as in Austria. Verbal and physical attacks on migrant women in Finland. Verbal attacks, in particular towards women identified as Muslim, in Slovakia.

These alarming events are reported by the monthly data collection covering the period 1-30 October 2016 that the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) published together with a report on hate crime across 14 Member States.

The latter reveals that incidents of violence, harassment, threats and hate speech towards migrants and asylum seekers, and their children, are widespread, whether committed by authorities, private companies or individuals, or vigilante groups.

Documentation of these attacks is mainly provided by Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) as only few Member States collect data on hate crime incidents targeting asylum seekers and migrants.

However, the data available demonstrate that such incidents are pervasive and grave.

Not only asylum seekers and migrants are targeted, but also other groups are attacked: intolerance is increasing towards muslims, especially women. In addition, politicians, journalists and volunteers or welfare organisations perceived as “prorefugee” are also experiencing hostility and attacks.

Hate crimes are rarely reported by asylum seekers and migrants due to several factors, among which the belief  that a criminal report may cause further victimisation, threats and abuse: as a result hate crime remains invisible.

Moverover, access to support services that meet the needs of the victims appears limited.

This worrying overview of the situation is completed by the reported CSOs’ perception that the response of Member States to hate crime against asylum seekers and migrants is weak.

To counter hate crime, the FRA report highlights promising practices to support the complaints on hate crime, to facilitate the access to justice, to tackle negative stereotypes about asylum seekers and migrants and to enhance protection for those in a vulnerable situation. They are added to the Compendium of good practices for combating hate crime that FRA has already published this year.

Access to the FRA monthly data collection: November 2016

Download the FRA report on hate crime

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