EU Advocacy

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Information about IHRC's advocacy acitivities with the EU institutions


EU Advocacy

Located in Brussels since 2016, the EU Office coordinates IHRC advocacy activities with the EU Institutions, including the European External Action Services, European Parliament, European Commission and EU Delegations.

IHRC advocacy work in the EU currently focuses on:

● Follow policy developments on a number of issues that relate to anti-Muslim hatred, anti-discrimination law, counter-terrorism law and media. (migration law)

● Liaise with the Members of the European Parliament (especially UK MEPs), other EU Institution officials, allied NGOs and civil society networks in Brussels and across Europe.

● Present IHRC and its positions on a number of policy areas to International and European stakeholders at an institutional and civil level.

● Write position papers, briefing documents, press releases, research, and newsletters

● Advocate on behalf of individual case of human rights activists to the EU officers as laid down in the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders, e.g. raising cases with national authorities, observing trials, visiting detained human rights defenders.

● Implementation of projects funded by the EU

For more details, you can find them throughout the website as well

Combating Islamophobia in the EU:

The European Commission, the European Parliament and Member States can and should play a leading role in shaping policies to fight Islamophobia. The IHRC-EU team works to influence key decision-makers to ensure that EU policies combating anti-Muslim hatred have a far reaching, positive impact on the lives of those most affected.

Our work spans numerous policy areas including employment, hate crime, hate speech, institutional islamophobia, security and counter-terrorism law, islamophobia in the media.

IHRC contribution at the EU level:

- Meeting with the special representative for Muslim communities for the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament (Afzal Khan, MEP)

- Attending the European Commission Colloquium on Fundamental Rights

- Engaging with the European Parliament’s Anti-Racism and Diversity Intergroup (ARDI), especially UK MEPs.

- Playing an active part in the work of the EU High Level Group on combating racism, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance, set up by the European Commission in 2016

- Consulting with the FRA-led Subgroup on improving methodologies for recording and collecting data on hate crime

- Taking part in the roundtables with the European Commission coordinator on combating anti-Muslim hatred, David Friggieri

Documents:

Some of the steps taken by EU institutions in the past period include:

Framework Decision 2008/913/JHA on racism and xenophobia

Victims’ Rights Directive 2012/29/EU

The 2008 Equal Treatment Directive, still pending for approval by the Council.

Racial Equality Directive

Audiovisual Media Services Directive

NGO coalition statement following 4th European Commission Round Table on anti-Muslim hatred

On Friday 8 December 2017, several NGOs from the European coalition against Islamophobia [1] attended the 4th roundtable on anti-Muslim hatred and discrimination organised by the European Commission and chaired by the EU coordinator on combatting anti-Muslim hatred, David Friggieri. This marks two years now since his appointment and it was the occasion for civil society organisations to look back at these past years and evaluate the progress achieved and the work yet to be done.

Discussions highlighted the increasingly worrying situation faced by Muslim communities in Europe, as pointed by recent reports issued by the EU Fundamental Rights Agency and by the European Islamophobia Report 2017, to name but a few. Organisations part of the European coalition against Islamophobia emphasized the imperative need for a group effort to enable tangible progress on the fight against Islamophobia across Europe and is looking forward to strengthened relations and partnerships between its members.

The group discussions also highlighted the need for stronger and more concrete commitment and actions by the European Commission. With the hindsight of these past two years, there is a feeling amongst civil society organisations that there are still some misconceptions by the European institutions with regards to the issue of Islamophobia. With the generalised suspicion against Muslims, it is of utmost importance for EU policy makers not to fall into the trap of treating Muslims as potential problems but rather as human beings whose fundamental rights can be violated. Combatting Islamophobia is not about preventing radicalism or terrorism - which are very important societal issues dealt with under other relevant policy strands - it is about politically addressing structural forms of discrimination and racism affecting Muslims or those perceived as such. Failing to understand this would be counter-productive and further fuel stigmatisation and generalisation about Muslims.

While the issue of Islamophobia has gained more visibility in recent years at EU level and the coalition praises the efforts of the European Commission that helped achieve this, there is a clear need for stronger actions. On the occasion of the 4th roundtable on anti-Muslim hatred, a list of concrete recommendations for actions has been drafted by civil society experts.

Apart from ensuring that combating Islamophobia is mainstreamed in key policy areas, specific policies are needed at national level to address Islamophobia, including its structural dimensions and impact on economic and social outcomes for Muslims. The coalition believes the European Commission and its coordinator on combating anti-Muslim hatred have the potential to guide Member States towards these policies and materialise recognition into concrete political actions. As such we are looking forward to strengthening close and transparent collaboration with the European commission to reach these objectives which would allow us to achieve a better and more inclusive Europe for all.