Number of new discrimination cases at Unia rises by 20 percent
Unia received no fewer than 5,619 reports of discrimination in 2016. These led to 1,907 case files being opened concerning possible discrimination, hate speech or hate crimes. This represents an increase of 20 percent from 2015.
Most of the cases concern discrimination on grounds of race (30 percent), followed by disability (28 percent) and religious convictions (14 percent).
Do these figures show that there is more discrimination in our society? ‘No,’ says Els Keytsman, Unia’s director. ‘The figures provide a picture of our country and of Unia’s activities. Increased awareness of Unia and a number of cases covered in the media partly explain the overall rise.’
‘Although we cannot say that discrimination in our society is on the increase, what we can say for sure is that there is growing awareness of discrimination and that people are reporting it more. However, our figures and trends indicate some specific problems that call for a systematic response.’
Unia was contacted most frequently about discrimination in the area of work in 2016, with a total of 1,098 reports, up around 55% from 2015. The increase was mainly recorded in the public and commercial sectors. Most of the other reports we received were in the areas of goods and services (1,068 reports) and the media (624 reports).
Regarding the grounds of discrimination, the highest number of reports received by Unia (1,647) concerned racial discrimination. A further 852 reports related to discrimination on grounds of disability, and 762 to religious or philosophical convictions.
Unia takes a stand for getting along together, even in times of corona crisis
The corona crisis that is gripping our country has fuelled mutual distrust among citizens. “We notice that there is a strong tendency to look for culprits or scapegoats”, says Els Keytsman, director of Unia. “This is a trend that we must counteract. Nobody benefits from it. We would do much better to support the countless forms of solidarity created by the pandemic. The corona crisis is certainly not over yet. We have to learn to live with this virus without destroying the solidarity in our society.”
Unia is here for you - coronavirus or not
Pandemic or not, we are here to combat discrimination. Unia is here to listen and to help. Subject, of course, to the appropriate precautions. How does this affect you?
Number of reports of discrimination rises by over 13%
In 2019, Unia saw a continued upward trend in the number of reports and cases concerning discrimination. ‘The number of reports was 13.2% higher than in 2018, while the caseload increased by 6.9%. On social media, we are seeing harsher language, about people with disabilities, Muslims and refugees, for example’, says Unia director Els Keytsman. ‘There is a normalisation of hate speech on social media, as well as on the street.’
Unia recognised internationally as a National Human Rights Institution
Unia was recently recognised as a national institution for the protection of human rights, B status, by the competent international bodies. Unia received this recognition for its independence and commitment to human rights, such as the right to equal opportunities and non-discrimination.