Across Europe, individuals, including adolescents, continue to be disproportionately singled out for police identity checks and searches with no objective and reasonable justification, on discriminatory grounds including race, colour, language, religion, nationality or national or ethnic origin. Generally carried out in public view, this widespread practice, known as ethnic profiling, undermines the dignity of victims, provokes other acts of discrimination and abuse, and triggers fear and insecurity amongst affected groups and communities. Furthermore, many studies demonstrate that ethnic profiling is not an effective tool to prevent crime and terrorism. Ethnic profiling also damages the image of police as an impartial protector of all members of the public, with negative consequences for police’s credibility and effectiveness.
Well-established case law of the European Court of Human Rights obligates States to prohibit, avoid, and eliminate discrimination and take all necessary steps to provide effective judicial protection against such practices. A range of international and European bodies, including the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) in its General Policy Recommendation No. 11, and the Parliamentary Assembly, in particular, in Resolution 1968 (2014), have stressed the serious negative impact and illegality of ethnic profiling and urged States to respond appropriately by implementing a number of relevant measures.
Unfortunately, a number of States have not only failed to address the problem but, in some cases, have adopted legislation and practices that further enable ethnic profiling. As a result, credible reports indicate that the abuses that frequently accompany discriminatory checks have increased.
The Assembly therefore decides to take stock of the failure to bring ethnic profiling to an end, with a view of gathering relevant data, establishing adequate legal standards against abuse, introducing recording and independent oversight mechanisms, and, finally, putting an end to this regrettable practice.