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Declaration and Plan of Action on combating racism,
xenophobia, antisemitism and intolerance
Vienna, 9 October 1993
We, Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe member States,
Convinced that the diversity of traditions and cultures has for centuries been one of Europe's riches and that the principle of tolerance is the guarantee of the maintenance in Europe of an open society respecting the cultural diversity to which we are attached;
Convinced that to bring about a democratic and pluralist society respecting the equal dignity of all human beings remains one of the prime objectives of European construction;
Alarmed by the present resurgence of racism, xenophobia and antisemitism, the development of a climate of intolerance, the increase in acts of violence, notably against migrants and people of immigrant origin, and the degrading treatment and discriminatory practices accompanying them;
Equally alarmed also by the development of aggressive nationalism and ethnocentrism which constitute new expressions of xenophobia;
Concerned at the deterioration of the economic situation, which threatens the cohesion of European societies by generating forms of exclusion likely to foster social tensions and manifestations of xenophobia;
Convinced that these manifestations of intolerance threaten democratic societies and their fundamental values and undermine the foundations of European construction;
Confirming the Declaration of 14 May 1981 of the Committee of Ministers in which the latter already solemnly condemned all forms of intolerance and the acts of violence that they engender;
Reaffirming the values of solidarity which must inspire all members of society in order to reduce marginalisation and social exclusion;
Convinced furthermore that Europe's future demands from individuals and from groups not only tolerance but also the will to act together, combining their diverse contributions,
Condemn in the strongest possible terms racism in all its forms, xenophobia, antisemitism and intolerance and all forms of religious discrimination;
Encourage member States to continue efforts already undertaken to eliminate these phenomena, and commit ourselves to strengthening national laws and international instruments and taking appropriate measures at national and European level;
Undertake to combat all ideologies, policies and practices constituting an incitement to racial hatred, violence and discrimination, as well as any action or language likely to strengthen fears and tensions between groups from different racial, ethnic, national, religious or social backgrounds;
Launch an urgent appeal to European peoples, groups and citizens, and young people in particular, that they resolutely engage in combating all forms of intolerance and that they actively participate in the construction of a European society based on common values, characterised by democracy, tolerance and solidarity.
To this end, we instruct the Committee of Ministers to develop and implement as soon as possible the following plan of action and mobilise the necessary financial resources.
1. Launch a broad European Youth Campaign to mobilise the public in favour of a tolerant society based on the equal dignity of all its members and against manifestations of racism, xenophobia, antisemitism and intolerance.
This campaign, co-ordinated by the Council of Europe in co-operation with the European Youth Organisations will have a national and local dimension through the creation of national committees.
It will aim in particular at stimulating pilot projects involving all sections of society.
2. Invite member States to reinforce guarantees against all forms of discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin or on religion, and to this end to:
re-examine without delay their legislation and regulations with a view to eliminating provisions likely to generate discrimination based on any of these reasons or likely to sustain prejudice;
· assure effective implementation of legislation aimed at combating racism and discrimination;
· reinforce and implement preventive measures to combat racism, xenophobia, anti-semitism and intolerance, giving special attention to awareness-raising and confidence-building measures.
3. Establish a Committee of governmental Experts with a mandate to:
· review member States' legislation, policies and other measures to combat racism, xenophobia, anti-semitism and intolerance, and their effectiveness;
· propose further action at local, national and European level;
· formulate general policy recommendations to member States;
· study international legal instruments applicable in the matter with a view to their reinforcement where appropriate.
The Committee of Experts will report regularly to the Committee of Ministers, which will seek the opinions of the relevant Steering Committees.
Further modalities for the functioning of this new mechanism should be decided by the Committee of Ministers.
4.Reinforce mutual understanding and confidence between people through the Council of Europe's co-operation and assistance programmes. Work in this area would focus in particular on:
· studying the deep-seated causes of intolerance and considering remedies, notably by means of a seminar and support for research programmes:
· promoting education in the fields of human rights and respect for cultural diversity;
· strengthening programmes aimed at eliminating prejudice in the teaching of history by emphasising positive mutual influence between different countries, religions and ideas in the historical development of Europe;
· encouraging transfrontier co-operation between local authorities so as to boost confidence;
· intensifying co-operative work in the fields of intercommunity relations and equality of opportunities;
· developing policies to combat social exclusion and extreme poverty.
5.Request the media professions to report and comment on acts of racism and intolerance factually and responsibly, and to continue to develop professional codes of ethics which reflect these requirements.
In the execution of this Plan, the Council of Europe will take due account of the work of UNESCO in the field of tolerance, in particular preparations for a " Year of Tolerance " in 1995.
A first report on implementation of the Plan of Action will be submitted to the Committee of Ministers at its 94th Session in May 1994.