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Press Release – 03.07.2001

The Commission against Racism publishes new reports on Croatia, Cyprus, Germany and Turkey

STRASBOURG, 03.07.2001 – The Council of Europe’s expert body on combating racism, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), today released four new reports examining racism, xenophobia, antisemitism and intolerance in Croatia, Cyprus, Germany and Turkey.

The reports form part of a second cycle of monitoring of member States’ laws, policies and practices to combat racism. ECRI’s country-specific reports cover all 43 member States of the Council of Europe on an equal footing, in the perspective of the protection of human rights. Compiled following a contact visit to the country in question, the second report examines the implementation of proposals made to the government in the previous report, provides a general up-date and also contains a deeper analysis of selected issues of particular concern in that country.

ECRI recognises that in all four countries positive developments have occurred. At the same time, the reports detail ECRI’s continuing grounds for concern. These include:

In Croatia, problems of discrimination and intolerance persist in many key fields of life, particularly concerning Serbs and Roma/Gypsy communities. Efforts at reconciliation and confidence-building have been insufficient on the part of all concerned parties. The situation is exacerbated by the generally difficult economic climate and the need to reconstruct the ruined infrastructure of the territories directly affected by the war.

In Cyprus, immigrants appear to be particularly exposed to phenomena of racism, xenophobia and discrimination. Of serious concern are reports of use of excessive force by the police against aliens who enter or stay in Cyprus illegally.

In Germany, the existing legal framework and policy measures have not proven to be sufficient to solve the problems of racism, xenophobia, antisemitism and intolerance. Some issues of deep concern are: incidents of racially motivated violence; insufficience of measures of integration; the situation of and attitudes towards those who are considered as “foreigners”.

In Turkey, the situation of immigrants without legal status and asylum seekers is of particular concern, notably as concerns the treatment of these persons on the part of the police and border control officials. Of concern are also the serious limitations of the right of members of all minority groups publicly to express and cultivate their ethnic, cultural, linguistic or religious background.