End discrimination based on ethnicity, national origin, descent or skin colour! Despite existing legal instruments, discrimination based on ethnicity, national origin, descent or skin colour still persists across Europe. Continuing cases of discrimination, harassment, violence and exclusion demonstrate that the problem is far from being solved.
What would we do first?
Strengthen law enforcement systems in order to end police violence, harassment and profiling, and to ensure that the police fulfills its duty to treat everyone respectfully and equally.
What is going on?
Current legal instruments, at the national, European and international level, fail to protect individuals facing prejudice, unequal treatment and social exclusion. Minorities still experience discriminatory treatment and hate crimes including in education, employment, social services, interaction with law enforcement etc. Discrimination based on ethnicity and skin colour remains one of the most experienced forms of inequality, with these minorities remaining the most disadvantaged and persecuted individuals in society.
Additionally, discrimination against Roma people is particularly problematic across Europe. Roma people represent the largest ethnic minority in Europe; it is estimated that there are 10-12 million Roma people in total, some 6 million live in the EU, and most of them hold the citizenship of an EU country. Recent publications show that as many as 80% of Roma are still at risk of poverty.
What is our vision?
Volt is based on the principles of equality for all, equal opportunities, and the respect of human rights. Volt strives to ensure that no one is discriminated against, or subject to violence, based on ethnicity, national origin, descent and/or skin colour. For discrimination to be eliminated, attitudes and behaviours must change, and concrete actions need to be taken at all levels of governments.
How do we get there?
1. Strengthen law enforcement systems in order to end police violence, harassment and profiling, and to ensure that the police fulfills its duty to protect society. The police practice of ethnic profiling still exists in most countries (eg: in France, young men perceived as black or Arab in particular, who are 20 times more likely to be stopped than the rest of the population). Recent statistics show that in 2017, almost half of those who were stopped by the police believed that this was due to their immigrant or ethnic minority background. Volt therefore proposes to work to:
- End to ethnic profiling during police identity checks and require officers to issue a stop form for every identity check, to encourage well-grounded stops and greater accountability.
- Limit officers’ discretionary authority (require reasonable & individualised suspicion for all checks and searches) and develop clear guidance for law enforcement officers.
- End police violence through trainings, accountability mechanisms, and monitoring.
2. Promote and revise legislations that address persistent discrimination against certain groups. While legislations are in place to tackle discrimination, it is essential to increase their visibility and revise them where necessary.
- Ensure that adequate deterrents, such as fines and criminal penalties, are in place and applied when acts of violence (hate crimes) or discrimination take place because of one’s ethnicity, national origin, descent or skin colour take place.
- Immediately remove any exceptions which permit discrimination on these grounds.
3. Train judges, magistrates and other civil servants to recognize and address implicit biases towards minorities. The justice system is vital to ensure that disputes are resolved in an orderly manner and that victims are protected. Across Europe, people from who are, or seem to be, from minority groups linked to their ethnicity or skin colour are still more likely to face arrest, charging, prosecution or imprisonment. It is therefore essential for judges, magistrates and other civil servants to demonstrate fairness and justness when carrying out their responsibilities Volt wants to reinstate the confidence in the justice system and ensure that biases towards minorities are maintained at a minimum, if not eliminated, through trainings and other methods.
4. Incentivize and protect diversity in schools to promote better educational opportunities. Promoting diversity in schools has several advantages, including educational benefits, as well as the promotion of good relations between people of different backgrounds. Volt wants school curricula to better incorporate diversity. For example, through cross-cultural exchange, the study of books by authors from different backgrounds and with different perspective, with workshops, and by using more practical pedagogical tools. Additionally, provide internal erasmus opportunities within different regions of the country to diminish more traditional & tribal gaps.
5. Increase ethnic and cultural diversity in companies across the continent. Achieving greater diversity is not only the right thing to do, but is also profitable for companies: it is more likely to bring competitive advantage to a company and is linked to higher financial returns. Volt wants to ensure that both the private and public sectors respect and promote diversity and encourage minority workforce to enter careers in which they are underrepresented.
6. Require all mid to big-size companies to have confidential channels and hotlines, separate from general employee relations, to report inappropriate and discriminatory and inappropriate behaviour, violence and/or harassment. Workplace discrimination can take many forms and occurs during recruitment and interviews and is reflected in unequal pay, unjustified dismissals and harassment. Volt will require employers to have those reporting channels in place, and have them be managed by an external company or by a separate human resources teams.
7. Remove the terms ‘race’, ‘racism’ and ‘racial discrimination’ in all legislations. The current concept of different race is socially constructed, as scientifically there is only one human race (Homo sapiens). The use of such terms should therefore be eliminated in law and the concept should be redefined. On this merit, policies against discrimination shall consist of the following terms: ethnicity, national origin, descent or skin colour. N.B. Volt does not dispute the fact that “racism” - in the traditional meaning of the word - exists and needs to end, but believes that acknowledging that all humans are of one race is a key factor in ending discrimination.
8. Ensure that Roma people have equal rights, both in the legal system and in practice. For this, ensure that they have equal access to education, housing, employment and healthcare.
- Ensure that during winter people cannot be evicted and advocate for a school year truce from expulsions, to enable children to stay in school.
- Create awareness-raising campaigns about the Roma community to decrease stigma.
- Ensure equal access of Roma children to public school, regardless of living situations. For this, eliminate administrative hurdles (such as requiring children to live in the neighborhood of the school in order to be able to register there).
- Ensure that Roma people have access to basic infrastructure and human needs i.e. running water, electricity and heating.
- Incentivise programs at the local level to help tackle issues Roma people most commonly face i.e. language classes; courses and trainings to help find employment; assistance in getting the right information on entitlements and access to healthcare, etc.