It is the European Union’s People of African Descent Week
The European Network of People of African Descent (ENPAD) welcomes the People of African Descent Week in the European Parliament awaiting meaningful action from European governments to end anti-Black racism. ENPAD welcomes the European Union’s People of African Descent (PAD) Week from May 14th - May 17th to raise awareness of the realities of the 15 million PAD living in Europe and discuss solutions.
From May 14th - May 17th, 2018 the European Parliament Anti-Racism and Diversity Intergroup (ARDI), Transatlantic Minority Political Leadership Conference (TMPLC), Each One Teach One (EOTO), and the European Network Against Racism (ENAR) are hosting the People of African Descent Week in the European Parliament. ENPAD welcomes this initiative and the important conversations it allows on how to tackle anti-Black racism. Additionally, ENPAD calls on the European Parliament to propose to the European Commission the development of an EU wide framework for national strategies to combat Anti-Black Racism.
ENPAD in the meantime also calls for European governments to take meaningful action that goes in line with recommendations of the UN Decade made by the UN Working Groups for PAD as well as civil society actors. Visibility by itself will not tackle the structural discrimination PAD face in Europe, i.e. decreasing the high numbers of racist attacks on PAD, racial profiling and displacement through gentrification in urban centres.
Anti-Black racism in Europe is institutionalised. Numerous European countries have been proven to use racial profiling as widespread policing strategies, disproportionately affecting People of African Descent. These have also been proven to be UN Human Rights Violations. Consequently, PAD often show an understandable distrust in official bodies, such as the police, due to their status of “guilty by race”. Campaigners in the UK have been highlighting that stop and searches and traffics stops disproportionally target Black people with PAD being four times more likely to be stopped and searched.
In the Netherlands, PAD have less access to fair legal representation and like in other European countries, there is no independent complaint service to report abuses of power by police officers. In the UK, since 1990 over 1600 people have died in police custody - in the care of police officers - but there have been zero convictions. The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) in the UK consists of a high number of ex-police officers with strong connections to police departments. With conviction rates so low and untransparent connection to police departments, this is a shocking example of how the allegedly independent police monitoring organisations have no interest in holding police officers to account.
These realities are only a compact illustration of the violence and hostility immersed toward People of African Descent throughout all European societies. Europe has failed to implement current governing laws to protect Black people from structural discrimination and violence and continues to fail in building protective policies for people of African descent. Instead, People of African Descent have become increasingly vulnerable and subject to abuse. The police, who should work as a protective force against racism and xenophobia instead often acts as the perpetrator of violence against Black people, while being protected by the state who is complicit in this use of violence.
ENPAD members will be attending the PAD Week this week to join these conversations and discussions. However, ENPAD wants to allude to the fact that many of these conversations have been happening for years and decades and that European governments are in fact already aware of the human rights violations and discrimination PAD face in their countries.
The European Network of People of African Descent (ENPAD) is a trans-European Network of Black-led organisations with 18 member organisations in nine countries. Together we work for the political empowerment of People of African Descent and advocate for the full implementation of human rights for Black people throughout Europe.