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Press Release – 21.03.2007

Council of Europe: 40 measures for combating racism at school
Statement on International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination1:

Strasbourg, 21.03.2007 – “Across Europe, racist incidents among young people are on the rise. School is the place to make or break our efforts to stop this trend. The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) of the Council of Europe has today published a Recommendation comprising a list of measures which are specific and simple to implement, and I encourage governments to take immediate action” said Terry Davis, Secretary General of the Council of Europe.

The Recommendation on combating racism and racial discrimination in and through school education asks governments to review the situation of children from minority groups in the school system, and put in place policies to deal with the problems these children face. The Recommendation also proposes to establish a system to monitor and sanction racist incidents and raise awareness about the issue. Teaching staff should be trained to work in a multicultural environment and respond adequately to the needs of pupils from different backgrounds.

“Quality education, which is compulsory and equally accessible to all, is the key to combating racism and racial discrimination in our societies” said the Chair of ECRI, Eva Smith Asmussen.

1. The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed annually on 21 March to commemorate the day when, in 1960, police opened fire and killed, in Sharpeville, South Africa, 69 peaceful demonstrators who were protesting against the apartheid “pass laws”.