European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) The independent human rights monitoring body of the Council of Europe in the field of combating racism and intolerance
• Decision of creation (political) : First Summit of Heads of State and Governments of the member States of the Council of Europe (Vienna, 1993)• Statute (legal) : Since 2002 it has an autonomous statute, which was adopted by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe
• ECRI is an independent human rights monitoring mechanism specialised in combating racism, xenophobia, antisemitism and intolerance• ECRI is composed of 47 independent and impartial members. They serve in their individual capacity and do not receive instructions from their governments.• ECRI takes its decisions at plenary sessions held in Strasbourg three times a year.• ECRI has a permanent Secretariat based in the CoE.
Mandate• ECRI’s action covers all measures to combat racism, xenophobia, antisemitism and intolerance.• ECRI defines racism in a very broad manner which covers not only grounds such as race, colour and national or ethnic origin but also other grounds such as language, religion and nationality.• Intolerance is to be understood as intolerance related to racism, xenophobia or antisemitism.• ECRI’s action covers all measures necessary to counter violence, discrimination, and prejudice that individuals or groups may experience on those grounds
ACTIVITIES:1. Country-by-country monitoring2. Work on general themes3. Relations with civil society and national anti-discrimination bodies
1. MONITORING The Country- by-country reports 1. Analysis of the national situation 2. Identification of problems 3. Suggestion of solutions. All member States, on an equal footing (no ad hoc visit) ECRI’s fourth round monitoring 2008-2013 focuses on: 1. implementation of recommendations from reports of the 2. three recommendations for priority implementation within two years
Issues covered by the report• The legal framework for combating racism and racial discrimination and its implementation;• The existence of independent bodies to assist victims of racism;• The situation of vulnerable groups in specific areas (education, employment, housing etc.);• The tone of political discourse around issues relevant to these groups.• Monitoring of racism and discrimination (Data/Statistics)
Sources of information used by ECRI for its reports• Written sources CoE / ECHR Other IGOs Anti-discrimination bodies Local, national or international NGO’s Studies, research and press articles• Contact visits Direct consultation with national authorities Relevant NGO’s, Minorities, Migrants Visit to specific communities
Co-operation with national authorities• Monitoring system based principle of co-operation with national authorities:• Before the report• During contact visit organised in cooperation with the national authorities• Confidential dialogue at the draft stage• Government’s comments and observations in the appendix of the report.• Report made public (unless the governmen objects. no government has objected so far).
Publication and Round tables• Communication and information when the reports are published.• Translation of the report in the national language• Round table in the country to discuss ECRI’s recommendations and consider how best to put them in practice
2. WORK ON GENERAL THEMES General Policy Recommendations (GPR) on issues of particular concern to ECRI GPR’s aim is to provide guidance to States
GPR’s- N° 1: Combating racism- N° 2: National specialised bodies- N° 3: Roma/Gypsies- N° 4: National Surveys Victims- N° 5: Islamophobia- N° 6: Internet- N° 7: National legislation- N° 8: Anti-terrorist measures- N° 9: Antisemitism- N°10: Combating racism and discrimination in and through education- N°11: Combating racism and racial discrimination in policing- N°12: Combating racism and racial discrimination in the field of sport.- N°13: Combating anti-Gypsyism and discrimination against Roma- N°14: Combating racism and racial discrimination in employment
3. RELATIONS WITH CIVIL SOCIETYProgramme of action:- Information sessions and national round tables in the member States.- Co-operation with NGOs- Communication strategy (Media coverage)- Contacts with the Youth Sector
Co-operation with other European and International Organisations: Other important actors in the field of combating racism, xenophobia, antisemitism and intolerance, including:• EU: European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA)• OSCE: The Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR)’s tasking on Tolerance and Non-Discrimination• UN: The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), the Anti-Discrimination Unit of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Impact of ECRI’s work• The European Court of Human Rights has used ECRI’s reports and standards several times in the drafting of its judgements.• ECRI’s GPR N° 2 on national specialised bodies to combat racism and racial discrimination has been a very useful tool for NGOs and other bodies who have lobbied states in order to create a body with wider competencies and more independence than foreseen by the EU directive.• ECRI’s GPR No.7 has been widely used by the governments of member states in the recent legislative reforms in the field of anti-discrimination. This Recommendation has been used as a check-list of provisions to be included in order to ensure that the relevant legislation is exhaustive.• ECRI’s country-monitoring reports have triggered post- publication debate in many countries. Some specific recommendations in the reports have led to new legislation and to changes of policy.
Examples of ECRI’s impact• Finland – In 2004 Finland introduced primary anti- discrimination legislation in order to transpose the EU directives on Equal Treatment. The Act goes further than required by the Directives and, in conformity with an ECRI recommendation, places public authority under a duty to promote equality and requires them to draw up equality plans in order to comply with this duty. Also, as recommended, the legislation further covers discrimination on the basis of nationality (i.e. citizenship).
Examples of ECRI’s impact• Estonia – In 2001 ECRI recommended that Estonian authorities extend the functions of the Office of the Legal Chancellor (Ombudsman) to include issues of racism and racial discrimination. In January 2004, a conciliation procedure before the Ombudsman was introduced. Persons discriminated could therefore bring complaints before this body.• France – in 2010 ECRI recommended the adoption and implementation of a national action plan against racism. In 15 February 2012 a National Action Plan against racism 2012-2014 was adopted. It makes the fight against racism and anti-Semitism a priority of the governmental action.
For further information: Secretariat of ECRI Council of Europe F-67075 Strasbourg Cedex FRANCE firstname.lastname@example.org +33 (0)3 88 41 29 64 +33 (0)3 88 41 39 87Visit our website: www.coe.int/ecri
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