For its second edition, the EU Anti-Racism and Diversity Week took place on 20-22 March 2023. It was centred around the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination that takes place every March 21. The Week was co-organised by the European Network against Racism (ENAR Europe), MEPs and the Parliament’s Anti-Racism and Diversity Intergroup (ARDI).
While anti-discrimination and equality are cornerstones of the EU, time has unfortunately proven European and national legislations have not succeeded in protecting minority and marginalised groups. In 2022, the most reported grounds of hate speech in the European region included anti-gypsyism, sexual orientation and xenophobia including anti-migrant hatred, as the High Representative on behalf of the EU, Josep Borrell, recalled this week.
This is notably why President von der Leyen’s commitment to a Union of Equality in 2020, including the launch of the EU’s first Anti-Racism Action Plan in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death and international support for Black Lives Matter protests, has been such a positive step forward. So far, the EU is honouring its commitment having; appointed Michaela Moua as the EU’s first anti-Racism Coordinator, organised 2 EU Anti-Racism Summits and published guidelines to support its request for Member States to adopt and implement their own national action plans against racism and racial discrimination.
The EU’s Anti-Racism Action Plan recognises the different forms of racism, how they can intersect with other protected grounds such as socio-economic background, religious beliefs, disabilities and gender, and therefore strives to be a horizontal policy tool to be mainstreamed into all sectors- from education, to digitalisation, through to health.
On the theme of mainstreaming, in 2022 DG SANTE launched ‘DisQo anti-discrimination and health equity’, a pan-European Thematic Network that addresses the impact of structural racism and discrimination on physical and mental health inequities. This is an issue for which there is overwhelming evidence, but one that has so far gained insufficient attention in the public health domain. The network was initiated and is led by the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA), and is supported by 40+ organisations.
For the occasion of EU Anti-Racism and Diversity Week, the DisQo network held the second of their webinar series on anti-discrimination and health equity. This event on March 23 focused on ‘the importance of equality data’ and included speakers from EQUINET, the OECD, the University of Glasgow, Belgium’s Equality Body UNIA, and DG SANTE. As specified in the Commission guidelines for Member States, equality data collection is key to evaluating and monitoring the respect of Fundamental Human Rights for all, and further enables assessment of discrimination patterns among minority and marginalised groups. Such data is therefore key to constitute evidence of discriminations unfolding.
DisQo’s first webinar took place in January 2023, focusing on the importance of language and definitions. The 3rd webinar is expected to occur March 30 and will likely focus on the ‘sharing of good practices at different government levels and the need to break the silos between sectors’.