European Parliament resolution: Afrophobia” and “Afri-phobia” are specific forms of racism

By Marvin Hokstam

AMSTERDAM — The European Parliament has finally passed a resolution that unequivocally calls Afrophobia” and “Afri-phobia” racism. The resolution on the Fundamental Rights of People of African Descent “calls on EU Member States and the EU institutions to recognise that people of African descent are subjected to racism, discrimination and xenophobia in particular amounting to structural racism, and that they are entitled to protection from these inequities both as individuals and as a group, including positive measures for the promotion and the full and equal enjoyment of their rights.” “This is top shelf success,” dr Barryl Biekman of the National Platform for Slavery Past said in a reaction.

The resolution was passed on Monday. In it the European Parliament recognises that “Afrophobia”, “Afri-phobia” and “anti-black racism” is a specific form of racism, including any act of violence or discrimination, fuelled by historical abuses and negative stereotyping, and leading to the exclusion and dehumanization of People of African Descent.

The Parliament states that the phenomenon of “Afrophobia”, “Afri-phobia” and “anti-black racism” correlates to historically repressive structures of colonialism and the transatlantic slave trade, as recognised by the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights. Furthermore, the European Parliament said the issues of enslavement, forced labour, racial apartheid, massacre, and genocides in the context of European colonialism and the transatlantic slave trade remain largely unrecognized and unaccounted at an institutional level in EU Member States.

“The resolution referred to several disconcerting conclusions and called on EU member-states to take actions against them. “People of African descent have contributed significantly to building European society throughout history, and large numbers of them face discrimination in the labour market; people of African descent are disproportionally represented among the lower- income strata of the European population; people of African descent are overwhelmingly underrepresented in political and lawmaking institutions, at European, national and local levels in the European Union; a rise in Afrophobic attacks in Europe has recently been directly targeted against third-country nationals, particularly refugees and migrants; politicians of African descent are still facing ignominious attacks in public sphere at both national and European levels; the racism and discrimination experienced by people of African descent is structural and often intersects with other forms of discrimination and oppression on the basis of sex, race, colour, ethnic or social origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, membership of a national minority, property, birth, disability, age or sexual orientation,” it listed, noting however that active and meaningful social, economic, political and cultural participation by people of African descent is key to tackling the phenomenon of Afrophobia and ensuring their inclusion in Europe. The resolution condemned “strongly any physical or verbal attacks targeting people of African descent in both public and private spheres” and called on the European Commission to develop an EU framework for national strategies for the social inclusion and integration of people of African descent.”

EU Parliamentarian Cecile Kyenge, the Congo born, former Government Minister from Italy said “I welcome the adoption of the resolution on the Fundamental Rights of People of African Descent. I have been fighting since the beginning of the mandate to have this resolution passed and it sends a very strong message ahead of the European elections that we will not accept racism and discrimination against People of African Descent.”

Amel Yacef, Chair of the European Network Against Racism: “This vote is a historic watershed moment for the recognition of people of African descent in Europe. The European Parliament is leading the way and sending a signal to EU Member States to tackle structural racism that prevents Black people from being included in European society. The ball is now in their court: we need concrete action plans and specific measures now.”

Dr. Biekman, the chair of the Dutch National Platform for Slavery Past called it a great victory and a historic step forward in the fight against racism, stereotyping within culturally historical traditions. “Finally, some justice. The question now is how will the Netherlands interpret this? How will politicians, policy makers and the Courts interpret this European Parliament decision” Especially considering the recent outcome of the Provincial State elections. We are focused and we call all hens on deck against afrophobia,” she said.

This story appeared in The Daily Herald on March 27 2019