Sunday, May 28, 2017

2017 report of European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI)

ECRI welcomes these positive developments in Denmark. However, despite the progress achieved, some issues give rise to concern.

The country’s criminal, civil and administrative law provisions are still not entirely in line with ECRI’s General Policy Recommendation No. 7 on national legislation to combat racism and racial discrimination.

Racist hate speech, in particular against Muslims, continues to be a problem. Although the authorities have begun to overhaul the data collection mechanism for hate crime incidents in general, it needs to be further improved. Under-reporting of hate speech is a problem that requires urgent attention.

The rising levels of antisemitic violence and hatred, including in social media, are also of concern. During the terror attack in Copenhagen in February 2015, a member of the Jewish community was killed outside the synagogue.

With regard to integration policies, ECRI notes that no wide-ranging reform of the rules for family reunification has taken place, as recommended as a matter of priority in its fourth report. On the contrary, the rules have been further tightened, including an extension of the waiting period for beneficiaries of temporary subsidiary protection before they can normally obtain family reunification to three years, in spite of criticism from international bodies, such as the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD).

The Danish authorities also introduced, again, a reduced level of social welfare benefits for certain categories of newly-arrived persons in Denmark, including refugees and persons who have been granted subsidiary protection. ECRI had already criticised a similar scheme of differential social welfare standards in the past and is, once more, also worried about the actual amounts, which are widely seen as being too low to facilitate the integration of recipients into Danish society.

In spite of ECRI’s recommendation in its fourth report to tackle the problem of school segregation, there are new developments suggesting that such practices continue.

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