More than half of people of African descent have already experienced racism in Belgium

More than half of people of African descent in Belgium (56 per cent) have experienced racism. That is more than in other European countries, according to a report published by the European Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) on Wednesday.

Four in ten Belgians of African descent respondents indicated that they had experienced racist intimidation. Nearly half (45 per cent) felt discriminated against during their job search, and 37 per cent also felt discriminated against at work. The average for the thirteen EU countries surveyed was 11 and six percentage points lower, respectively. In Belgium, a third of people with African roots have a temporary contract, while only seven per cent of the general Belgian population falls under that category. Additionally, a third of the group surveyed in Belgium has difficulty making ends meet.

Regarding the housing market, 44 per cent of Belgians with African parentage indicate that they have experienced discrimination. That is ten percentage points more than in the other countries surveyed. In addition, one in five (21 per cent) people of African descent in Belgium own their own home, while a large majority (71 per cent) of Belgians own property. The group studied also lives in overcrowded houses more often than the rest of the population.

"Those who reported believed nothing would change or make a difference."

Almost half of the respondents in Belgium (48 per cent) experienced their last police stop as a result of ethnic profiling. That is the same as the average in the thirteen EU countries surveyed. Those who feel that they are being monitored because of their origin have significantly less confidence in the police than those who do not have that feeling.

A small minority (13 per cent) say they have reported discrimination to an official agency. This is in line with the general trend in other European countries. Those who do not report discrimination often feel that reporting "would not change anything or make no difference".

Although the EU has had anti-discrimination legislation in place since 2000, people with African roots in Europe continue to face racism, discrimination and hate crimes, the report says. The FRA is calling on EU countries to urgently take additional measures to tackle racial discrimination and harassment. In collaboration with polling agency Ipsos, between October 2021 and September 2022, the agency interviewed 459 people with African roots in Belgium.

"People of African descent are increasingly discriminated against based solely on the colour of their skin."

This is the third time that FRA has researched the experiences of immigrants and descendants of migrants in the EU and the first time that there were also figures for Belgium. “It is shocking that there has been no improvement since our last survey in 2016,” said FRA Director Michael O'Flaherty. “Instead, people of African descent are increasingly discriminated against based solely on the colour of their skin. The EU and its Member States should use these findings to target their efforts better and ensure that people of African descent also enjoy their rights and can exercise freely without racism and discrimination."

©Easy Fotostock

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