Have you ever been stopped from doing something because of the colour of your skin, your background, or the way you live your life?
Have you ever been threatened with violence, made to live in difficult conditions, been denied your rights?
Many people face racism and intolerance, and it's not just a loss for them, it’s a loss for everyone. Racism fuels conflict, creates divisions, leads to billions of euros being wasted when people are not given equal education and employment opportunities. It creates inqualities in health that end up hurting everyone. It stops us discovering the richness of other cultures and poisons our enjoyment of sport and the online world.
Our world would be so much better off without it.
Anti-racist action is in the Council of Europe’s DNA. We were founded to stop history repeating itself and to make sure that everyone has the same rights and opportunities. The European Human Rights Convention is there to make sure that happens - it makes it quite simply illegal for our member states to discriminate, and victims can and do bring cases. Fairness and equal treatment are at the root of everything we do - from our work with Roma and Travellers, migrants and refugees, to the work we do in towns and cities throughout Europe and with young people in our centres in Strasbourg, France, and Budapest, Hungary, especially the campaign against Hate Speech.
Above all, it's important to help countries to spot where racism has the potential to fester and grow, and to help them develop ways to counter it. That is why ECRI - the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance - works closely with every one of our members to design programmes suited to each country’s circumstances.
Yet ECRI’s studies show racism is getting worse. Hatred is on the rise both online and offline; racist political parties are getting votes and mainstream parties voicing racist views. We need to do more.
We need to make sure laws are in place and being followed. We need to train police, lawyers and other government authorities to treat all people equally. We need to make sure future technology respects human rights and adds to, not undermines, diversity. We need to build a world where everyone is respected and where we can enjoy our differences. And if we succeed, just imagine how many unexpected friendships we might make!
Everyone wins when racism is defeated.
Let’s join the move to a fairer world!