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Austria Ranks Among Worst EU Countries for Racism, New Study Reveals

Austria and Germany have both ranked the worst in a new study on racism against black people conducted in over a dozen EU countries.

According to the European Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) study in Vienna, 76 percent of respondents in Germany and 72 percent in Austria reported experiencing discrimination in the past five years due to their skin colour, origin, or religion.

These figures represent the highest proportions of discrimination among black people across the 13 EU countries included in the survey. On average, 45 percent of respondents across all 13 countries reported having experienced discrimination.

According to the study, the problem has gotten worse in recent years, 39 percent of 2016 respondents having said the same thing.

The results in Germany and Austria are also particularly striking due to the increase in reported discrimination since the same 2016 study. 51 percent of respondents in Austria reported experiencing discrimination in the 2016 study, compared to the 72 percent this time around. Austria and Germany saw the two highest increases out of all the countries studied.

By comparison, Poland (20 percent), Sweden (25 percent), and Portugal (26 percent) reporting the lowest rates. Luxembourg, France, Italy, Sweden and Portugal also saw dramatic decreases in reported discrimination since 2016 – in contrast to the big spikes Germany and Austria saw.

The study revealed that black people in Austria face particularly high levels of discrimination in several areas. For instance, 59 percent reported discrimination in the job market, compared to an average of 34 percent across the 13 countries. Additionally, 49 percent reported housing discrimination (EU-13: 31 percent), 45 percent reported employment discrimination (EU-13: 31 percent), 42 percent reported discrimination in education (EU-13: 18 percent), and 36 percent reported discrimination in health (EU-13: 11 percent).

Austria also ranked at the forefront for racially motivated assaults, with 46 percent of respondents experiencing harassment, a figure below Germany at 54 percent. Six percent of respondents in Austria reported personal experiences of violence, which is above the average. In this category, Finland showed the highest value at 11 percent.

The survey also found that 37 percent of black students in Austrian schools have faced racist insults or threats, while the average across all 13 countries was 23 percent.

“It is shocking to see no improvement since our last survey in 2016. Instead, people of African descent face ever more discrimination,” Michael O’Flaherty, director of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) said in a press release.

Yet in recent years the Black Lives Matter movement has helped to heighten “the community’s awareness,” Rossalina Latcheva, in charge of racism and discrimination issues at FRA told AFP.   

But she also warned that the discourse on migration is “very often linked to a threat”, impacting how black people “are perceived”.

In light of the report’s findings, Latcheva recommends that political decision-makers should “work together with the police and increase training”.

Source : The Local

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