Two recent reports published by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) confirm that hate crime happens daily throughout the European Union (EU). One of the reports reveals that 32% of Somalis interviewed by the agency that live in Finland reported being victims of hate crimes during the past 12 months.
Other countries in the dubious league with Finland and the Czech Republic included Denmark, Malta, Greece, Poland, Ireland, Italy, Hungary, Slovakia, Germany and Cyprus (see table below).
Do you think that this incident/any of these incidents in the last 12 month happened partly or completely because of you immigrant/minority background? Source : FRA, EU-MIDIS Data in Focus 6 – Minorities as Victims of Crime, Figure 5
The FRA states that the only way to combat hate crime, the EU needs to make these crimes more visible and hold perpetrators to account. Greater political will is needed “on the part of decision makers to counter pervasive prejudice against certain groups and compensate for the damage.”
This may be easier said than done. The question we must ask is not only why victims are unwilling to report such crimes to the police, but why such institutions and the government don’t make a big deal about it.
“Hate crimes create an ‘us and them’ mentality that does tremendous psychological damage,” says FRA Director Morten Kjaerum. “They undermine the basic democratic tenets of equality and non-discrimination. Hate crimes thus harm not only the victim, but also other people belonging to the same group – many of whom are terrified that they will become the next target – and society as a whole.”
Just like a recent Race Council Cymru study published by the BBC that reveals how racism goes “under-reported” in Wales, the FRA confirms this trend in other European countries. It states: “…victims are often unable or unwilling to seek redress against perpetrators, with many crimes remaining unreported and unprosecuted and, therefore, invisible.”
Hate crime statistics for 2011 will be published in Finland before end-year, according to the Police College of Finland.
Read the full FRA report here.