Protesters rally in memory of George Floyd in June 2020 in Dresden, Germany. The protests after the murder of George Floyd and the EU action plan against racism have led some European countries to start settling accounts with their colonial past, says the author/Photo: power4africa e.V.

Opinion: Herzberger-Fofana on how best to combat racism in Europe

Dr Pierrette Herzberger-Fofana, Member of the European Parliament (MEP), condemns discrimination on the basis of religious beliefs as well as anti-Black racism, and calls for decisive action against all forms of hatred. She makes a recommendation on how to tackle Afrophobia more effectively at the European level


Discrimination on the basis of religious beliefs has no place in our world. Hatred threatens our society and democracy by undermining freedom of expression.

Both the Muslim and Jewish communities are not only part of our society, but have also shaped it significantly and made a great contribution to our world. Nevertheless, they have endured and continue to endure immeasurable suffering because of their faith and cultural identity.

Together, we must take decisive action against anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic attacks. The fight against anti-Semitism and hostility towards Muslims must not be separated from other forms of discrimination.

The author, Dr Pierrette Herzberger-Fofana, MEP/Photo: © EP

Anti-Black racism or Afrophobia is unfortunately widespread throughout the world, and acts of violence against the community and hatred are on the rise everywhere. The protests after the murder of George Floyd and the EU action plan against racism have led some European countries to start settling accounts with their colonial past. Protesters targeted statues in public squares commemorating figures associated with colonial violence and the slave trade.

As co-president of the Anti-Racism and Diversity Intergroup (ARDI), I had pleaded for a coordinator with experience of racism. At a time when the UN Decade for People of African Descent is coming to an end and in view of the recently published study “Being Black in the EU. Experiences of People of African Descent”, it seems to me that a coordinator for anti-Black racism or Afrophobia as a strong point could give impetus to this field of research and lead to concrete results.

The tragedy of 11 September and the attacks of 7 October have increased hostility towards Muslims. The current war and the retaliatory measures against the Gaza Strip have in turn developed a certain distance to Israel.

The conflict that is tearing the Islamic and Jewish worlds apart must not lead to a division that closes the doors of dialogue forever. Respect for human rights must remain the basis on which peace and religious diversity can flourish and promote coexistence.

The “EU Action Plan against Racism” must go beyond 2025 and include an intersectional approach to all forms of discrimination, including Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and Afrophobia. Member States are called upon to implement this plan consistently and to include Islamophobia and antisemitism and Anti-Black Racism in their national action plans.


The author, Dr Pierrette Herzberger-Fofana, also holds the following positions in the European Parliament:
– 1st Vice-President of the Development Committee DEVE
– Vice-President for the Relations with the Panafrican Parliament DPAP
– Co-President of the Delegation of the Parlamentary and Joint Assembly OACPS-EU DACP
– Vice-President in the Parlamentary Assembly Africa-EU DAFR
– Co-President of the “Anti-Racism and Diversity Intergroup” ARDI

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