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Anti-racism day reminder of importance of European action to end discrimination

March 21, 2011 4:48 PM

To mark (today, March 21st) the UN's international day for the elimination of racial discrimination, held annually on the anniversary of South Africa's Sharpeville massacre where police opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration against the racist apartheid system, Liberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman and London MEP Sarah Ludford commented:

"The apartheid system is happily dead and gone, but racial discrimination lives on in our society. Whether it be in employment or in policing, the statistics show that discrimination based on race and ethnicity persists. One reform needed through Europe is the systematic collection of such data."

"It was fitting that the first comprehensive guide to European non-discrimination law was launched today by the (non-EU) European Court of Human Rights and the EU's Fundamental Rights Agency. This will hopefully not only be a useful resource for lawyers and others but also a spur to better enforcement."

"But combating racism is not only about policy and legal changes but also about changing people's prejudices, and the rise of extremist and racist parties is an unwelcome reminder of the extent of that challenge."

Notes to Editors

Sarah Ludford spoke today at an event today organised by the UK Race & Europe Network and the Runnymede Trust to launch the European Network Against Racism's report on the state of play of racism in Europe. Also today saw publication of the first Comprehensive Guide to European non-discrimination Law, see here: