Here is the ENAR press release:
Brussels, 19 March 2004. On the 21 March 2004, the world will celebrate the International Day Against Racism. But there is nothing to celebrate. Instead, we are faced with the blatant resignation of the EU institutions regarding their commitments to combat racism.
This date was chosen by the UN in 1966, after the massacre of young students peacefully protesting against apartheid laws in South Africa. Thirty-eight years later, racist crimes continue to be reported daily in Europe. Many mainstream political parties are openly developing programmes based on xenophobic propaganda and even far right racist parties are participating in governmental coalitions in some Member States.
ENAR, the European Network Against Racism blames the EU for deserting the anti-racism battlefield. Evidence of such a disregard for anti-racism is unquestionable. For instance, political negotiations regarding the proposed Framework Decision to combat racist and xenophobic crimes have been blocked since February 2003. The agendas of both the Irish and Dutch Presidencies do not plan any action on this initiative, nor have they prepared any other actions against racism in 2004.
The European Council no longer condemns racism in its final declaration that concludes each presidency. In addition, the latest decision by Council in December 2003 has decided to “broaden” the mandate of the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) to become a general human rights agency. Marginalising once more the fight against racism at the EU level.
During the Convention negotiations on the Future of Europe, it has been extremely difficult to maintain the EU’s competence in justice and home affairs on combating racism and xenophobia.
Moreover, most Member States in EU are still not in compliance with both of the Equality Directives. They have yet to transpose them into their national laws, despite the fact that both deadlines have now expired, for more than 6 months.
“This assessment of the political situation makes it clear that the time has come to put words into action and to remember past and forgotten commitments. ENAR is calling upon to the Irish Presidency and all EU Member States to fulfil their obligations at last and work towards a Europe where racism would no longer exist” says Bashy Quraishy, Chairman of ENAR.