On 29 March 2012, Monika MAYRHOFER (Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights) presented the RED-Project within the framework of the HUMAN RIGHTS TALK: “Monitoring Racism. Data Collection and Monitoring as essential instruments in combatting Racism” in the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna.

The aim of the RED-Project is to create a web-based anti-discrimination atlas containing information on xenophobia, racism and other forms of intolerance, compiled of 18 research and civil society organisations from 17 EU member states. The researchers involved in the project come from a wide variety of backgrounds such as law, political science, sociology, etc. The project’s focus is to report on and document situations where various forms of racism and discrimination occur and incidents of racism, and to develop successful counter-strategies. Data on racism, Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Anti-Ziganism and homophobia will be made available via the Atlas project; the aim is that it will be comparable in all EU member states. The project will present the development of legislation and the reactions of governments and civil society to current events, and by so doing attempt to establish a data- and evaluation base which will highlight both positive and negative developments. This will in turn provide a good foundation for further development in the areas of equal treatment, equal opportunity and diversity.

Claudia SCHÄFFER from the organisation ZARA-Civil Courage and Anti-Racism Work emphasized the importance of raising awareness about racism and commented on the ZARA Racism report which was presented on 21 March 2012. “You can only take action against racism when you know where and how it occurs.” Ms Schäfer stated that she believes that there is a lack of government approaches to tackle interpersonal and institutional racism.

Josef KYTIR of Statistik Austria commented that Statistik Austria consciously decided against statistical assessment of race and ethnicity for historical reasons. In the census,
data was collected on citizenship, the place of birth and the citizenship of parents. For
the past few years Statistik Austria has been working on a report on the situation in Austria entitled, “Migration and Integration”.

Petja DIMITROVA spoke about border politics in Europe and emphasised the fact that projects like the RED-Project are very important as a source of data. She also remarked that it is important that one has concrete plans of how to address the incidents of racism which are recorded by such projects, a view which was supported by Ms Mayrhofer.

Monitoring racism is a key component in the combatting of racism and discrimination as it helps raise awareness amongst political and civil society actors and thus strengthens the development of positive and preventative measures.

The event was moderated by Irene BRICKNER (Der Standard).

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