The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) has released its latest country reports on Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland and Luxembourg, analysing recent developments and outstanding issues and providing recommendations to the authorities. ECRI notes challenges ahead despite some positive developments.
The report on Andorra notes progress in recent amendments to the country’s criminal code and public education on discrimination. However, the report expresses concern at the lack of a specialised national body to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, antisemitism and intolerance, as well as a lack of comprehensive antidiscrimination legislation.
“Andorra has made relevant amendments to align its criminal law with Council of Europe standards to combat racism and discrimination. A crucial improvement would now be to enable a specialised body to investigative complaints in both public and private sectors, assist victims, initiate and participate in court proceedings, monitor legislation, provide advice to legislative and administrative authorities, and raise awareness”, said ECRI´s chair Christian Ahlund.
In its report on Bosnia and Herzegovina, ECRI welcomes some positive developments taken by the country in reducing ethnically-motivated crime and discrimination, however denounces a persistent lack of political willingness in the country to build an inclusive society.
“Ending all forms of ethnic segregation in schools is probably one of the most important tasks for Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is absolutely vital in order to build an inclusive society and to spare future generations the curse of ethnic divisionism and hatred.” said Mr Ahlund.
ECRI notes a positive development in Iceland in the form of an appointment of a police officer to investigate hate crime and a new database to monitor online hate speech – however the report also notes concerns around rising levels of racist public rhetoric, and in particular growing hostility towards Muslims.
Luxembourg is noted to have made progress in particular in recognising the rights of LGBT people, while ECRI also commends the creation of a new House of Human Rights, however the report criticises the country for failing to extend equality legislation to all residents of the country, as well as not recognising racist or homophobic/transphobic motivation as an aggravating circumstance in the country’s criminal code. Online hate speech is also singled out as a growing problem in the country, while the report also notes concerns around educational equality, with children of a migration background reported to be underperforming in schools.
Press releases including links to the full report documents for the reports on Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland and Luxembourg can be found at the relevant links. ECRI is a human rights body of the Council of Europe, composed of independent experts, which monitors problems of racism, xenophobia, antisemitism, intolerance and discrimination on grounds such as “race”, national/ethnic origin, colour, citizenship, religion and language; it prepares reports and issues recommendations to member states.