Advocacy update

Equality Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Adopts New Resolution on Police Profiling

December 02, 2020
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NEW YORK—The Open Society Justice Initiative applauds the adoption of a draft resolution by the Equality Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) calling on all European States to pass laws to ban ethnic profiling. The resolution calls for the full implementation of measures recommended by the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance in its General Policy Recommendation #11, which includes the introduction of “a reasonable suspicion standard” requiring that policing activities pertaining to “control, surveillance or investigation” be carried out only if there is a suspicion founded on objective criteria.

The resolution also encourages police forces to take stronger action against racist behavior, set up independent and well-resourced police complaints mechanisms, systematize the issuance of paperwork to those subjected to stop and search, and collect disaggregated data that could measure the prevalence of ethnic profiling, among other measures.

“This year, George Floyd’s killing in Minneapolis drew attention to the severity of police brutality and ethnic profiling in the U.S. and around the world. To acknowledge that Black lives matter is to demand urgent action from political leaders,” said Lanna Hollo, senior legal officer at the Justice Initiative. “Importantly, this resolution acknowledges that systemic racism requires a systemic response. Unfortunately, European countries have yet to step up.”

The PACE resolution emphasizes that stopping, checking, or investigating individuals without any reasonable and objective grounds due to their skin color, appearance, or perceived nationality, ethnicity, origin, or religion contravenes international human rights standards. PACE adopted the resolution days after the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination adopted a similar resolution on preventing and combating racial profiling by law enforcement officials, into which the Justice Initiative also provided input and support.

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