Ethnic Profiling: A Rising Challenge for European Human Rights Law

Modern Law Review, vol. 71, no. 3, p. 358-384 (2008)

29 Pages Posted: 23 Jun 2014

See all articles by Olivier De Schutter

Olivier De Schutter

University of Louvain (Belgium)

Julie Ringelheim

Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) - Center for Philosophy of Law; University of California, Berkeley - Berkeley Comparative Equality & Anti-Discrimination Law Study Group

Date Written: June 6, 2014

Abstract

Ethnic profiling, defined as the use of racial, ethnic or religious background as a determining criterion for the adoption of law enforcement decisions, has been rising significantly in Europe, in particular in the wake of the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks (1.). This article seeks to examine whether European human rights law is well equipped to deal with this challenge, and if not, how it should be reformed. Against the widely held assumption that personal data protection legislation is insufficiently protective of ‘sensitive’ data relating to race or ethnicity, it explains instead why combating ethnic profiling has been made more difficult, rather than less, by an overly protective reading of the requirements of data protection laws (2.). It then discusses the additional measures that European states could take to address more effectively the human rights concerns prompted by the development of ethnic profiling (3.).

Keywords: Ethnic and racial discrimination, Counter-terrorism measures, Personal data protection, Ethnic and racial stereotyping, Stop and search powers.

Suggested Citation

De Schutter, Olivier and Ringelheim, Julie, Ethnic Profiling: A Rising Challenge for European Human Rights Law (June 6, 2014). Modern Law Review, vol. 71, no. 3, p. 358-384 (2008). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2446908

Olivier De Schutter (Contact Author)

University of Louvain (Belgium) ( email )

Place Montesquieu, 3
B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, 1348
Belgium

Julie Ringelheim

Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) - Center for Philosophy of Law ( email )

Pl. Montesquieu, 2
Louvain-la-Neuve, B-1348
Belgium

University of California, Berkeley - Berkeley Comparative Equality & Anti-Discrimination Law Study Group

Boalt Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-7200
United States

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