On the International Day Against Police Brutality: Black People are Increasingly Attacked while Europe Responds with Impunity and Indifference
It is imperative that European governments reflect on the increasing violence against People of African Descent who live here and initiate adequate anti-racist policies. The European Network of People of African Descent (ENPAD) calls on European countries to fully implement the current governing law in regards to the protection of Black people from racial violence and discrimination, as well as create better hate-crime protection policies across Europe.
On today’s occasion, the International Day Against Police Brutality, People of African Descent across Europe are outraged by the increased violence and discrimination against Black people that clearly reveals how normalized and institutionalized anti-Black violence is in Europe.
Since 2016, hate crimes have surged by 42% in the United Kingdom. The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) reported that the UK referendum was “marked by divisive, anti-immigrant, and xenophobic rhetoric”. Less than a year later, an Irish woman attacked a woman of African descent in midday on a busy street in Dublin. That same month, a Black man was killed by police at a traffic stop in London. These incidents are not exclusive to the UK and Ireland, and reveal a disturbing trend across Europe.
Germany reported that there were nearly 10 attacks a day against refugees in 2016. UN experts who visited cities across Germany in 2017 reported, “institutional racism and racist stereotyping by the criminal justice system has led to a failure to effectively investigate and prosecute perpetrators of racist violence, racial profiling and hate crimes against people of African descent”.
The Netherlands also reported an increase in hate-crimes. In 2015, more than a dozen Dutch men in Woerden used eggs and fireworks to violently attack an asylum center accommodating 150 people seeking refuge, including 50 children. Of the 18 men charged, none received jail time. Then last summer, a Dutch man brutally attacked a South African tourist while she checked out of his AirBnb in Amsterdam.
People of African Descent seeking refuge in Europe are also subject to tremendous human rights violations on their journeys to Europe. The Mediterranean Sea has become a mass grave at the door front of Europe, and Europe’s non-commitment to protecting and aiding people passing through Libya to seek refuge within the EU has fueled growing racial resentment and racist crimes, as well as a resurgence of fascist ideals – and most disturbingly – fascist political organization.
These realities described are only a compact illustration of the violence and hostility immersed throughout all of European society toward people of African descent face. Europe has failed to implement current governing laws to protect Black people from discrimination and violence and continues to fail in building protective policies for people of African descent. Instead, people of African descent have become increasingly vulnerable and subject to abuse. The police, who should work as a protective force against racism and xenophobia instead often act as a perpetrator of violence against Black People, and are protected by the state as one of their actors.
People of African descent have been part of European societies for centuries. The continued socio-political resentment and brutality against people of African descent is the result of European nations historically and politically refusing to recognize us as an intrinsic part of its social, cultural, and economic makeup.
It is imperative that European governments reflect on the increasing violence against People of African Descent who live here and initiate adequate anti-racist policies. The European Network of People of African Descent (ENPAD) calls on European countries to fully implement the current governing law in regards to the protection of Black people from racial discrimination and violence, as well as create better hate crime protection policies across Europe. ENPAD intends to continue following these issues, reporting on their impact for people of African descent, and amplifying those who are working to change these conditions.
The European Network of People of African Descent (ENPAD) is a trans-European Network of Black-led organisations with 18 member organisations in nine countries. Together we work for the political empowerment of People of African Descent and advocate for the full implementation of human rights for Black people throughout Europe.
More information about ENPAD can be found here: www.enpad.net/EN
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