Racism against Asians is still widespread
Coronavirus Impact: Increased Racism Against Asians
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the number of registered cases of racist attacks on people of Chinese or Asian descent has skyrocketed in the EU, according to the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA). There are also concerns about the restriction of some fundamental rights.
In the report released on Wednesday, the FRA outlined areas where certain government actions in the EU against COVID-19 could have “profound effects” on fundamental rights.
A major concern is therefore the increase in racist attacks against people who are suspected of being Chinese or Asian.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked an increase in racist and xenophobic incidents against people (supposedly) of Chinese or Asian origin, including verbal abuse, harassment, physical attacks and online hate speech," the report said.
In addition, some of these population groups have also experienced discrimination when it comes to access to health services.
In addition, the study found that certain politicians and public figures in the member states used “degrading and xenophobic language towards people of Chinese and Asian origins”.
In this sense, the report highlights numerous statements of this kind from EU politicians, including a mixture of the current crisis with (allegedly) illegal migration by the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, or incidents in Slovakia where the right-wing extremist Marian Kotleba from the “People's Party Ours Slovakia "claimed:" Due to the open borders in the EU [...] migrants move through Europe without any control. And these people brought the coronavirus to Europe. "
In addition, there are problems on the Internet, according to the FRA: disinformation is “widespread” in the EU, and the reactions of the European data protection authorities to the virus outbreak have also not shown optimal results.
In the meantime, all EU member states have issued guidelines on the collection of personal data in view of the coronavirus outbreak, but the FRA believes that there is a lack of EU-wide harmonization in the approach taken by national authorities.
"Data protection authorities in the Member States have issued guidelines on how employers can collect or use information so that it does not violate the General Data Protection Regulation," said Joanna Goodey, head of research and data at FRA, told EURACTIV.com. "But when we gathered actual evidence about the guidelines given by the data protection authorities, it quickly became clear that these are not harmonized between the Member States."
Meanwhile, the European Data Protection Supervisor suggested on Monday that the EU should develop its own “pan-European mobile app against COVID-19” due to these differences in current developments within the block.
The FRA report, which was compiled after consultations with researchers from all 27 EU Member States, also discovered other threats to fundamental rights, for example in the areas of social life, education and work, free movement, asylum and migration.
In many ways the most vulnerable parts of society are particularly affected: “There are particular concerns about the effects - both of the virus itself and the measures taken to contain it - on certain groups such as the elderly, children, the Roma community, migrants and Asylum seekers, homeless people, people in homes and prisons, ”said Martha Stickings, Policy Analyst at FRA, to EURACTIV.com.
She warned: "Governments should keep an eye on the specific effects on these groups."
The FRA concluded by stressing that it will continue to monitor potential abuses across the EU and publish further reports on respect for fundamental rights amid the ongoing virus crisis in the coming months.
[Edited by Tim Steins]
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The EU Commission wants to commission the member states to set up structures that facilitate the use of data for the “common good”. The current coronavirus crisis could therefore demonstrate the general benefit of large-scale data analysis.
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