Reference Texts

The Council of Europe fights hard to prevent discrimination and has a range of key instruments, including legally-binding conventions, recommendations and resolutions, which serve to combat discrimination and promote intercultural dialogue and media diversity.  


White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue (2008)

The White Paper provides various orientations for the promotion of intercultural dialogue, mutual respect and understanding, based on the core values of the Organisation. The Ministers welcomed it as a “significant pan-European contribution to an international discussion steadily gaining momentum” as well as to the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue.

PDF document

Committee of Ministers - Recommendations

Rec(97)20E/30 October 1997 on hate speech
Rec(97)21E/30 October 1997 on the media and the promotion of a culture of tolerance
Rec(2001)6E/18 July 2001 on the prevention of racism, xenophobia and racial intolerance in sport
Rec(2006)10E/12 July 2006 on better access to health care for Roma and Travellers in Europe
Rec(2007)2E/31 January 2007 on media pluralism and diversity of media content
CM/Rec(97)19E/30 October 1997 on the portrayal of violence in the electronic media

Portal of Committee of Ministers

Parliamentary Assembly - Recommendations and Resolutions

Recommendation 1831(2008) on European Muslim Communities confronted with extremism
Recommendation 1789 (2007) on professional education and training of journalists
Recommendation 1783 (2007) on threats to the lives and freedom of expression of journalists
Recommendation 1805 (2007) on blasphemy, religious insults and hate speech against persons on grounds of their religion
Recommendation 1799 (2007) on the image of women in advertising
Recommendation 1773 (2006) on guidelines on the use of minority languages in the broadcast media 
Recommendation 1768 (2006) on the image of asylum-seekers, migrants and refugees in the media
Recommendation 1706 (2005) on media and terrorism
Recommendation 1674 (2004) on the challenges facing the European audiovisual sector
Recommendation 1688 (2004)on diaspora cultures
Recommendation 1641 (2004) on public service broadcasting
Recommendation 1589 (2003) on freedom of expression in the media
Recommendation 1555 (2002) on the image of women in the media
Recommendation 1506 (2001) on  freedom of expression and information in the media in Europe.
Recommendation 1543 (2001) on racism and xenophobia in cyberspace
Recommendation 1396 (1999) on religion and democracy
Recommendation 1277 (1995) on migrants, ethnic minorities and media
Recommendation 1215 (1993) on the ethics of journalism
Resolution 1563 (2007) on combating anti-Semitism in Europe
Resolution 1495 (2006) on combating the resurgence of Nazi ideology
Resolution 1510 (2006) on freedom of expression and respect for religious beliefs
Resolution 1478 (2006) on the integration of immigrant women in Europe
Resolution 1464 (2005) on women and religion in Europe
Resolution 1344 (2003) on the threat posed to democracy by extremist parties and movements in Europe
Resolution 1003 (1993) on the ethics of journalism

Parliamentary Assembly Portal


Congress of Local and Regional Authorities

Resolution 264(2008) on the social approach to the fight against racism at local and regional level.
Recommendation 246(2008) on the social approach to the fight against racism at local and regional level

Congress Portal

Commissioner for Human Rights

Thomas Hammarberg has been the Commissioner for Human Rights since 1 April 2006. His post is an independent institution within the Council of Europe, and his mandate is to promote the awareness of and respect for human rights in the Council of Europe's 47 member states.

Many of his 'Viewpoints,' which are widely reported in the press, touch on the theme of anti-discrimination.
These include:
01/09/2008: "Roma representatives must be welcomed into political decision-making"
18/08/2008: The shameful history of anti-Gypsism is forgotten - and repeated
21/07/2008: Hate crimes – the ugly face of racism, anti-Semitism, anti-Gypsyism, Islamophobia and homophobia"
13/03/08: The key to the promotion of Roma rights: early and inclusive education”
17/12/07: “The new European migration policy should be based on human rights principles, not xenophobia”
01/10/07: “Media diversity: a core element of true democracy”
22/02/07: Muslims are discriminated against in Europe"

Website of the Commissionner


European Court of HUman Rights (ECHR)

The Court examines complaints from throughout the Council of Europe's 47 member states, which come from anyone who considers that their human rights have been violated and who considers that the national authorities or courts have not dealt satisfactorily with their complaints. The key instrument for the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms underpinning the work of the Court is the European Convention on Human Rights.

Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights prohibits discrimination in the enjoyment of the rights guaranteed by the Convention:

Article 14 . Prohibition of discrimination - the enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this Convention shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status."

Protocol No. 12 to the convention prohibits discrimination on any ground by the national authorities. To search Court cases please use the HUDOC database. The Court's judgments are legally binding.

Court Website

European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI)

One of the campaign's key partners ECRI prepares country reports in the framework of which it monitors the situation concerning racism and intolerance in each country and proposes concrete and targeted measures (“good practices”) to combat effectively this dangerous phenomenon.  

All of ECRI's statements and declarations are aimed at protecting individuals against racism and racial discrimination. General Policy Recommendation No. 7 on national legislation to combat racism and racial discrimination is of particular relevance to the "Speak out against discrimination" campaign.

This recommendation contains the main elements which ECRI considers important for inclusion in member states' national legislation in order to combat effectively racism and racial discrimination. It advocates for the:
"adoption of a comprehensive body of anti-discrimination legislation, containing provisions in different fields of law and covering areas such as employment, housing, education, access to social and public services".

ECRI has also produced a good practice handbook on anti-discrimination bodies which were put in place to protect individuals against racism and racial discrimination  at national level. If you feel that you have suffered racism or racial discrimination why not contact one of the national anti-discrimination bodies mentioned in this handbook.

Country Reports
General Policy Recommendations
good practice handbook

ECRI website


This resource centre will be added to an ongoing basis. If you have any documents which could provide useful resource links for our campaign please contact us with the link/pdf and written confirmation that we can add the document to our resource centre.

Top of page