Statement by Nabil Sanaullah, ENAR, published on ENAR on 06/03/2024 – accessible here.

In the looming shadows of the upcoming European Union elections, a disconcerting surge in racist violence has cast a dark pall over communities across Europe. As documented by ENAR members in the following 3 cases, there is an alarming escalation in targeted attacks against racialised individuals and Civil Society Organisations working to protect human rights. As ENAR strives for a more inclusive and harmonious Europe For All, the rise in discriminatory violence demands urgent attention and action.

This blog delves into the unsettling realities recounted by ENAR members.

  • Black activist faces racial attacks online in Italy
  • Victims of assault arrested as perpetrators in Athens
  • Human Rights Defenders office bombed in Cyprus

Ivorian Community in Greece GREECE

In the heart of a tight-knit community, united by the love of football, an evening that should have been marked by camaraderie turned into a harrowing ordeal on Sunday, 11 February 11, 2024. As the Ivory Coast and Nigeria teams battled for glory in the African Football Cup of the Nation 2024, the joyous cheers of victory were overshadowed by a chilling act of racial hatred.

In the dimly lit streets outside a community center, a community member, caught up in the euphoria of Ivory Coast’s decisive goal, stepped out for a cigarette. Little did he know that his celebration would be met with venomous racism. A neighbor on a nearby balcony, screamed at him to go back to Africa.

Undeterred, the celebrant continued to revel in the victory, only to find himself confronted by the balcony dweller and three accomplices. The situation escalated rapidly as the aggressors, one of them threatening murder, unleashed a barrage of unprovoked violence upon the unsuspecting community member. The sounds of the brutal assault reached those watching the football inside, drawing them to the horrifying scene.

As the attackers mercilessly beat the community member, blood staining the pavement, the Ivorian community rallied to his defense, shielding him from the vicious onslaught. The assailants eventually fled, leaving behind a battered and broken victim.

Moments later, the nightmare took a terrifying turn when one of the assailants returned, armed with a gun. Panic gripped the crowd as he menaced them with threats of death, forcing a chaotic dispersal in the face of imminent danger.

The perpetrators managed to slip away by the time the police arrived at the scene. The victim, battered and bloodied, pointed towards the building from which the assailants had emerged, conveying a desperate plea for justice. Amidst the chaos, language barriers hindered communication between the victims and the authorities.

In a shocking twist of injustice, the tables turned on the victims. Falsely accused of attacking the assailants’ daughters, three community members were arrested and endured four agonising days in police custody. The language barrier persisted as the community members tried to explain their innocence, falling on deaf ears.

Finally, on February 12th and 15th, the victims faced the courts, their unjust imprisonment coming to an end. Meanwhile, the armed assailant, though temporarily released, remains under police scrutiny as the investigation unfolds.

Although the incident is over, the specter of violence lingers, leaving behind a community traumatised and terrorised not just by their the assailant, but also a justice system that failed to protect them.

Nosotras Onlus – ITALY

For a quarter of a century, Nosotras, a resilient intercultural association of native and migrant women, has stood as a beacon against violence and discrimination, tirelessly chronicling their endeavors through publications and, more recently, on social media. On 2 March, they shared a video on Facebook, unveiling the dedicated efforts each member contributes to the association’s noble cause. However, the response was not one of celebration but an unsettling eruption of racism. The mere sight of a black woman, symbolising strength and resilience, became the catalyst for a torrent of abhorrent comments. These expressions of hate were swiftly removed from the page, yet retained as evidence for reporting to the authorities.

In the face of this unwarranted assault, Nosotras calls on those who dream of a world free from racism, violence, and discrimination to stand in solidarity. Let our empathy reach not only the brave activist who has dedicated two decades to worthy causes but also the countless black women enduring daily indignities of racial violence, both in spirit and body. This incident serves as a stark reminder that the fight against prejudice is far from won and that our collective voice must rise stronger against such acts of hatred.



As previously reported by ENAR, the resilient walls of KISA, an anti-racist organisation in Cyprus, came tumbling down following a targeted assault on their office on 5 January. An explosive device, detonated mere meters from KISA President Mr. Polykarpou’s workspace, sending a very clear message that Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) are not safe.

Kim Smouter, ENAR Executive Director, minced no words in highlighting the broader implications of this assault, stating, “This attack represents a direct assault on the principles of justice, equality, and non-discrimination upon which the EU is built.” The bombing, emblematic of a hostile political environment perpetuating biased narratives against marginalised groups, underscores the urgent need for solidarity and action.

The assault on KISA is not isolated but rather a consequence of sustained smear campaigns and harassment by Cypriot authorities. The deafening silence following the attack from key entities, including the government and the media, sets an extremely dangerous precedent where violence is not only tolerated, but encouraged.

This follows illegitimate judicial cases against Mr. Polykarpou further intimidating and preventing the organisation from protecting human rights. In a backdrop of fear, intimidation, and violence, we must stand up for HRDs and ensure that they can safely continue their role in protecting others from discrimination and harm.

As the world grapples with regression into fear and violence, ENAR reaffirms its commitment to denounce any form of discrimination, intimidation, or violence against humans and organisations championing human rights, equality, and anti-racism. In the face of adversity, the call for justice resonates louder, a collective plea against the regression of our shared humanity.