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MEPs approve 'groundbreaking' resolution on tackling racism

RACISM IN EUROPE: Providing reparations for historical injustices against black people is among the recommendations put forward by the MEPs

MEPS HAVE called on the European Union to address the structural racism experienced by black people of African descent.

A European Parliament resolution put together by Cécile Kyenge, an Italian socialist MEP, encourages the EU to devise a framework for national strategies for the social inclusion and integration of black people.

The resolution was adopted by the European Parliament today after 535 MEPs voted to support it. Eighty MEPs voted against it and 44 abstained.

It is the first time an official EU document has addressed racism and fundamental rights issues facing black people of African descent in particular. Campaigners and MEPs who backed and developed the resolution have heralded it as groundbreaking moment.

“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.”

The resolution’s scope covers the rise in racist crimes, the lack of data collection on racial equality and historical injustices against black people, with respect to police violence, racial profiling, the underrepresentation of black people in politics.

Among its recommendations, the resolution has called for the European Commission to incorporate “a focus on people of African descent in its current funding programmes” and in the future and for EU institutions and member states to “take steps toward meaningful redress for past injustices and crimes against humanity”.

Suggestions for making amends for historical injustices include delivering public apologies and returning of stolen artefacts to their countries of origin as a form of reparations.

The adoption of the resolution follows the EU Fundamental Rights Agency’s research that concluded racism against black people is “all too common” in member states.

Claude Moraes, Labour MEP for London and one of the authors of the resolution, said: “[The next European Parliament will have fewest ethnic minority MEPs since it began. Reflecting growing racism and populism in all 28 [member states].”

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