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Africans and Roma face acute discrimination in the European Union but little of it gets reported to the authorities because victims don't believe any action will be taken, an EU report said on Wednesday.

It said about 55 percent of minority residents and migrants felt ethnically-inspired bias was widespread, but of the 12 percent who reported witnessing a racist crime in the past 12 months, 80 percent did not go to police about it.

Roma people most often complained of discrimination, with one in two people in that group saying they had been targets in the past 12 months, followed by sub-Saharan Africans, at 41 percent, and North Africans at 36 percent, the survey found.

In country-by-country cases, the most frequent reports of discrimination were by North Africans in Italy and France -- 94 and 88 percent of respondents respectively; by Roma in Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Greece, between 78 and 90 percent -- and Romanians and Albanians in Italy, 76-77 percent.

Minorities faced racially-motivated obstacles when looking for work or a home to rent or buy, trying to open a bank account or getting a loan, dealing with healthcare, social service or school officials, or entering cafes, restaurants and shops.

"The survey reveals discrimination, harassment and racially motivated violence are far more widespread than recorded in official statistics. (They are) grossly underreported," the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights said in the first bloc-wide survey of minority groups' experiences of racism.

"Thousands of cases of racist crime and discrimination remain invisible," said agency director Morten Kjaerum.

Some 82 percent of 23,500 people questioned did not report their most recent experience of discrimination. Asked why, 64 percent said they felt nothing would change. About 80 percent did not know any organisation that would offer help or advice.

The report urged governments to promote public registration of discrimination and racist crime, apply anti-discrimination laws in full and better inform minorities about their rights.

Financial Mirror, April 22, 2009|||Bias against Roma, Africans acute in EU, unreported
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