One in five persons of North African or Turkish origin says (s)he has been victim of discrimination while seeking employment in Belgium, according to UNIA, an independent public anti-discrimination institution in Belgium. The institution based this conclusion on the results of the second European Union Minorities and Discrimination Survey (EU MIDIS) report.
The 20% rate registered in Belgium is higher than the European average of 12%, according to data from the report, produced by the EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA), which says the situation has worsened over the past decade.
“Being refused a job on the labour market because of one’s origins is not acceptable,” commented UNIA Director Patrick Charlier. “Having a job is not only about working, it’s also about integrating into society and contributing”.
All the poll’s respondents belonged to a minority. Some 40% said the discrimination had occurred within the past five years, mainly on the job market, UNIA noted. Mystery calls can play a major role in tackling this problem, says the institution, which feels the tests should be mentioned explicitly in anti-discrimination legislation.
Some 32% of persons polled had already been the victims of harassment because of their ethnic or migrational origins, whereas the European average is 24%, notes the Inter-Federal Centre for Equal Chances.
However, there is some positive data in the FRA’s report. For example, 73% of respondents feel strongly attached to Belgium, whereas the European average is 67%. “The feeling of attachment is a fundamental pillar for feeling like a true citizen,” said Patrick Charlier.
Finally, respondents in Belgium have a better idea of where to file complaints when they experience such situations. About 48% know they can contact UNIA when they face discrimination, whereas the European average is 38%.
To draw up the report, the EU Fundamental Rights Agency (AFG) polled 25,515 persons in the 28 EU member states, including 1,339 in Belgium, These were first- and second-generation Belgians with North African and Turkish roots.