Credit: Ue Agency Fra
Credit: Ue Agency Fra

In its Fundamental Rights Report 2018, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights highlights progress and concerns in terms of the protection of the fundamental rights of migrants and refugees across the Union.

The year 2017 brought both progress and setbacks in terms of fundamental rights protection, according to the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights's Fundamental Rights Report 2018. The document reviews major developments in the EU in this area, noting both achievements and remaining areas of concern. 

In regards to migrants and refugees, it reported ongoing discrimination, harassment and racism across the EU and said complaints of mistreatment by police along the Balkan route had increased. 

Cases of xenophobia continue 

"Despite the policy initiatives undertaken within the framework of the EU High Level Group on combating racism, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance, racist and xenophobic hate crime and hate speech continue to profoundly affect the lives of millions of people in the EU," reads the report summary. 

"A considerable proportion of immigrants and minority ethnic groups face high levels of discrimination because of their ethnic or immigrant backgrounds, as well as potentially related characteristics, such as skin color and religion. The results show little progress compared with eight years earlier," it added. 

The European Commission "supported EU Member States' efforts to counter racism and hate crime through the EU High Level Group on combating racism, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance" and it "continued to monitor closely the implementation of the Racial Equality Directive and of the Framework Decision. 

Although several EU Member States have been reviewing their anti-racism legislation, in 2017 only 14 of them had in place action plans and strategies aimed at combating racism and ethnic discrimination. 

Greater abuse at border areas 

"Although the number of people arriving at the EU's external border in an unauthorized manner dropped in 2017, significant fundamental rights challenges remained," reads the summary. "Some of the gravest violations involve the mistreatment of migrants who cross the border by circumventing border controls. Reports of abusive behavior increased significantly in 2017, particularly on the Western Balkan route," it continues. 

Some EU Member states still struggled with the reception of asylum applicants. "The European Union and its Member States made significant efforts to increase the return of migrants in an irregular situation". However, there have been reports of forms of arbitrary detention in several member states and this conduct is a major interference with the protection of the right to freedom.

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