ECRI Strasbourg 2 June 2020
... With Austria’s Integration Act entering into force in 2017, resources were invested to better integrate newcomers, with a special focus on language acquisition and long-term integration into the labour market. The Federal Ministry of Education set up “Mobile Intercultural Teams” to assist increasing numbers of migrant pupils and the Public Employment Service has initiated “competency checks” to assess the skills and qualifications of refugees. ECRI also appreciates how the authorities recently prioritised anti-gypsyish in the fight against racism and discrimination, with an updated national “Roma Strategy” in 2017.More stereotripe as Europe attempts to craft cohesion from confusion at Council of Europe
Nevertheless, ECRI criticises “high levels” of Islamophobia reflected in increasingly xenophobic public discourse. Political speech has taken on highly divisive and antagonistic overtones particularly targeting Muslims and refugees, according to the report. The media have reported on racist statements by extreme right-wing party members. The report also highlights the under-reporting of hate crimes and recommends that the authorities facilitate closer cooperation and institutionalise a continuous dialogue between the police and groups at risk of hate-motivated crime as means of confidence building.
Headscarves in primary schools is another issue raised in the report, especially a recent amendment to the School Education Act, which prohibits pupils under the age of 10 from wearing “ideologically or religiously influenced clothing which is associated with the covering of the head”. ...
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