MEPs denounce racism, call for action

Written by on June 20, 2020 in Europe - Comments Off on MEPs denounce racism, call for action

Members of the European Parliament have adopted a resolution urging the EU to take a strong and decisive stand against racism, violence and injustice.

In a resolution adopted on June 19 with 493 votes to 104 and 67 abstentions, the European Parliament “strongly condemns the appalling death of George Floyd” in the US, as well as similar killings elsewhere in the world.

MEPs call on the US authorities to address structural racism and inequalities, criticise the police crackdowns on peaceful protesters and journalists and President Trump’s threat to deploy the army as well as his “inflammatory rhetoric”.

The Chamber supports the recent massive protests around the world against racism and discrimination and condemns “white supremacism in all its forms”.

MEPs denounce the “episodes of looting, arson, vandalism and destruction of public and private property caused by some violent demonstrators” demanding at the same time that “the disproportionate use of force and racist tendencies in law enforcement” be publicly denounced whenever and wherever they occur.

Use of force by law enforcement authorities should always be “lawful, proportionate, necessary and the last resort”, MEPs said, insisting that “excessive use of force against crowds contravenes the principle of proportionality”.

The EP underlined that cases of police brutality and abuse should not go unpunished and that citizens have the right to record scenes of police violence to use as evidence.

The text calls for the EU and its member states to end racial and ethnic profiling in criminal law enforcement, counter-terrorism measures and immigration controls. New technologies in this field must not discriminate against racial and ethnic minorities, it adds.

Police and law enforcement authorities must have “an exemplary record on anti-racism and anti-discrimination” and should strengthen training in this regard, MEPs say, calling also for more diversity within police forces.

The EU institutions and the member states should officially acknowledge past injustices and crimes against humanity committed against black people, people of colour and Roma, according to Parliament, which declares slavery a crime against humanity.

Combating discrimination in all areas must be an EU priority, say MEPs, who urge the Council to “immediately conclude the negotiations on the Horizontal Directive on non-discrimination”, blocked by EU countries since the Commission proposed it in 2008.

The resolution underlines that racist and xenophobic speech is not covered by freedom of expression.

MEPs regret that extremist and xenophobic political forces worldwide increasingly resort to the “distortion of historical, statistical and scientific facts and employ symbolism and rhetoric that echo aspects of totalitarian propaganda, including racism, antisemitism and hatred towards minorities”.

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