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Press Release – 15.09.2004

European governments urged to adopt measures to fight antisemitism

Strasbourg, 15.09.2004 – The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), an independent expert body of the 45-country Council of Europe, is to issue new proposals on fighting antisemitism to governments across the continent on Monday 20 September.

ECRI’s ninth General Policy Recommendation is the first European legal text on fighting antisemitism, and reflects the commission’s deep concern at the recent rise in antisemitic behaviour, including attacks on Jewish people and institutions.

According to ECRI, new forms of antisemitism are appearing which are often closely linked to contemporary world events such as the situation in the Middle East. Furthermore, this behaviour is not confined solely to marginal or radical groups, but originates in many different sections of society - and sometimes even involves people who themselves have been victims of racism and exclusion.

The ECRI Recommendation is the result of an extensive consultation process involving Jewish organisations, human rights groups and academics. The text suggests a range of measures that governments should take in areas such as criminal legislation, awareness-raising and promoting inter-religious dialogue.

The Recommendation will be presented to the public by ECRI President Michael Head at the Maison de l’Europe in Paris1 at 2 pm on Monday 20 September. The presentation will be followed by a Round Table involving famous Hungarian writer György Konrad and Freddy Raphaël, professor of sociology at the Marc Bloch University in Strasbourg.

The presentation and the Round Table will be fully open to the press. For further information please see www.coe.int/ecri

1 Hôtel de Coulanges-Sévigné, 35, rue des Francs Bourgeois, 75004 Paris