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Ref. DC 020(2017)


Andorra has sharpened its criminal law but should reinforce its anti-discrimination body, says Council of Europe´s Anti-racism commission

In a report published today, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) concludes that Andorra has made progress in improving criminal law provisions to combat racism and discrimination. However, additional measures are needed, such as ensuring the existence of a specialised anti-discrimination body or the adoption of legislation introducing the principle of the sharing of the burden of proof in discrimination cases (see also the Catalan version of the report)

In its fifth report on Andorra, ECRI welcomes a number of amendments made to the Criminal Code prohibiting public incitement to violence, hatred and discrimination; punishing the denial and condoning of crimes against humanity; and criminalising the production, possession or public dissemination of information containing racist images or expressions.

Another positive step is that Andorra has developed a particularly advanced educational programme to prevent and combat racist and homo/transphobic prejudice and stereotypes in schools. Training has also been provided to judges, prosecutors, lawyers and civil servants to improve their awareness about racism and discrimination.

On the other hand, ECRI expresses concern about the lack of a specialised national body to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, antisemitism and intolerance both in the public and the private sectors. ECRI stresses that Andorra should set up this kind of body or extend the current Ombudsman´s mandate to address these shortcomings.

Another matter of concern for ECRI is that comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation is not yet in force. Therefore it strongly recommends to the authorities to finalise the bill being prepared providing for specific and comprehensive civil and administrative legislation against discrimination. Although the sharing of the burden of proof is already being applied by Andorran Courts in discrimination cases, ECRI recommends that it is explicitly included in legislation.

The report also points out the lack of progress in easing the requirement for obtaining Andorran citizenship or in allowing the possibility of holding dual nationality.

“Andorra has made relevant amendments to align its criminal law with Council of Europe standards to combat racism and discrimination. A crucial improvement would now be to enable a specialised body to investigative complaints in both public and private sectors, assist victims, initiate and participate in court proceedings, monitor legislation, provide advice to legislative and administrative authorities, and raise awareness”, said ECRI´s chair Christian Ahlund.

The report addresses nine recommendations to the Andorran authorities. The following two are to be implemented on a priority basis and will be the subject of an interim follow-up report by ECRI within two years:

·         Ensure the existence of a body with specialised capacity to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, antisemitism and intolerance at national level in the public and private sectors;

·         Introduce into law the principle of sharing the burden of proof where discrimination complaints are brought before the civil or administrative courts.

The report was prepared following ECRI’s visit to Andorra in March 2016 and takes account of developments up to 30 June 2016, except where expressly indicated.

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ECRI is a human rights body of the Council of Europe, composed of independent experts, which monitors problems of racism, xenophobia, antisemitism, intolerance and discrimination on grounds such as “race”, national/ethnic origin, colour, citizenship, religion and language (racial discrimination); it prepares reports and issues recommendations to member States.

Contact: Jaime Rodríguez, Spokesperson/Press Officer Tel +33 3 3 90 21 47 04