European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI)

 

Annual Report 2010 [en] - [fr]

Press Release – 16.06.2011
Racism may be here to stay if Governments do not act, says the Council of Europe's Anti-Racism Commission

Strasbourg, 16.06.2011 - Racism and intolerance are becoming rooted in European societies as the economic crisis gives strength to extremist messages, warns Europe's leading anti-racist body today.

The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), which monitors the situation in each of the Council of Europe 47 member States, in its latest annual report says that racism is no longer limited to the fringes of society and that mainstream politicians are increasingly using xenophobic and anti-Muslim arguments and calling referenda targeting non-citizens and religious minorities. "Legal means alone do not seem sufficient to counter this trend. More needs to be done," the report states.

The report - which examines the main trends in 2010 in the field of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, antisemitism and intolerance in Europe - picks out "deplorable events" marking the beginning and end of the year which involved "the victimisation of migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa" and "inter-ethnic clashes fomented by ultranationalists". It calls on law enforcement authorities to take resolute action against racially motivated crime.

It welcomes the fact that the vast majority of states now criminalise hate speech, but says that authorities need to apply the laws more rigourously and make potential victims better aware of their rights. It also encourages "a vigorous debate of the underlying issues".

It highlights the growing wave of anti-Gypsyism, "one of the most acute problems facing Europe today", welcoming moves to create better conditions for the Roma communities.

The report also warns that attacks on multiculturalism could lead to fragmented societies and calls on Governments to up their efforts to promote intercultural dialogue: "The answer to the current debate on multiculturalism is strict adherence to a common set of principles, including non-discrimination and tolerance," the report states.

ECRI's Chair, Nils Muiznieks, backed up the report with a call to Governments to act now to turn the tide of racism. "ECRI's investigations in all European countries are showing a worrying pattern of rising racism. Governments need to be aware of the threat, work to strengthen laws and institutions against discrimination and give a clear message that xenophobia can never be tolerated in modern society," he said.

The full report is available here
For more information on ECRI see www.coe.int/ecri

Press contact: Stefano Valenti, Tel: +33 (0)3 90 21 43 28, stefano.valenti@coe.int