MEPs call on the EU and its member states to take measures to tackle the structural racism people of African descent face in Europe.

In a resolution adopted on Tuesday with 535 in favour to 80 votes against, and 44 abstentions, Parliament urges EU and national authorities to develop anti-racism policies and stop discrimination; in the fields of education, housing, health, criminal justice, political participation and migration.

In light of increasing afrophobic attacks, MEPs call on the European Commission and EU member states to acknowledge the racist, discriminatory and xenophobic suffering of Afro-Europeans, and offer proper protection against these inequalities to ensure that hate crimes are suitably investigated, prosecuted and sanctioned. Additionally, people of African descent should be taken into account more in current funding programmes and in the next multiannual financial framework (2021-2027).

Police custody and racial profiling

MEPs condemn the mistreatment of people of African descent in police custody, citing the numerous violent incidents and deaths that have occurred while in custody. They also note the frequent use of racial and ethnic profiling in criminal law enforcement, counter-terrorism measures and immigration control, and urge member states to end this practice.

Crimes against humanity during colonialism

The resolution encourages EU institutions and member states to address and rectify past injustices and crimes against humanity, perpetrated in the name of European colonialism. These historic crimes still have present day negative consequences for people of African descent, MEPs claim.

MEPs suggest carrying out reparations, such as apologising publicly and return stolen artefacts to their countries of origin. Parliament also calls on EU countries to declassify their colonial archives, as well as to present a comprehensive perspective on colonialism and slavery in the educational curricula.

ENAR: A historic moment

This is the first time that the European Parliament publicly recognises the specific racism and fundamental rights issues facing people of African descent in Europe, says in a press release the European Network Against Racism (ENAR).

“This vote is a historic watershed moment for the recognition of people of African descent in Europe”, said Amel Yacef, Chair of the European Network Against Racism.

“The European Parliament is leading the way and sending a signal to EU Member States to tackle structural racism that prevents Black people from being included in European society. The ball is now in their court: we need concrete action plans and specific measures now,” Yacef added.

Approximately 15 million people of African descent currently live in Europe. They face persistent discrimination and are subject to deeply rooted negative stereotyping.

Evidence suggests that Afro-European children receive lower grades at school than their white counterparts, and their rate of early school leaving is markedly higher.