Mixed results on European Parliament vote on preventing radicalisation: human rights concerns but strong on combating Islamophobia

Brussels, 25 November 2015 - The report on preventing radicalisation was adopted by the European Parliament today. The European Network Against Racism (ENAR) is concerned that some proposals may endanger the enjoyment of fundamental rights in the EU, especially by Muslims, refugees and people perceived as such.

We nevertheless welcome the recommendation that Member States adopt specific strategies for combating Islamophobia, as it is both a factor that could lead to radicalisation and the consequence of counter-terrorism measures.

The proposals for Passenger Name Records and other data mining and surveillance practices at external borders, if not based on strict indicators and assessment criteria, could lead to racial profiling and have a disproportionate impact on ethnic and religious minorities that fit certain general profiles, in particular Muslims and those perceived as such.

The recommendation to separate ‘radical’ prisoners from the rest of detainees would be difficult to implement without infringing on freedom of religion, as no Member State has formulated a reliable and non-discriminatory list of indicators of radicalisation. In addition, existing separation practices have been considered unsuccessful, including by prison administration. It would be more effective to ensure imams and chaplains receive specific training to work in prisons.

The proposal to put returning foreign fighters in administrative detention is worrying. It is a pre-emptive punitive measure during which suspects don’t have access to evidence against them, and therefore can’t organise their defence.

ENAR Chair Sarah Isal said: “In the current context of heightened security fears in Europe, it is all the more important to ensure fundamental rights are respected. Yet a number of proposals in this report infringe on the right to non-discrimination and other rights. European citizens and residents have the right to feel safe, but not at the expense of other human rights.”

For further information, contact:
Georgina Siklossy, Communication and Press Officer
Tel: +32 (0)2 229 35 70 - Mobile: +32 (0)473 490 531 - Email: georgina@enar-eu.org - Web: www.enar-eu.org

Notes to the editor:
1. The European Network Against Racism (ENAR aisbl) stands against racism and discrimination and advocates equality and solidarity for all in Europe. We connect local and national anti-racist NGOs throughout Europe and voice the concerns of ethnic and religious minorities in European and national policy debates.

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