Xenophobic populism and hate speech have continued to be on the rise in 2017, with high levels of migration and challenges of integration, religious extremism, terrorist attacks and the austerity-driven socio-economic climate observed all over Europe, says the annual report of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) published today.
The populist rhetoric has blended into a hatred of non-nationals or minorities; migration and multiculturalism have continued to be presented as a threat to social cohesion and security; traditional and social media have encouraged self-segregation and further deepened social divides. Existing security concerns have been exploited to justify huge trade-offs in fundamental rights of migrants and other vulnerable groups, the report stresses.
The Chairperson of ECRI Jean-Paul Lehners said: “While acknowledging the difficulties European states encounter, we still have to encourage them to change their narrative to a more balanced and fact-based discourse that emphasises the positive contribution of well-governed migration, in particular by underlining the opportunities and resources migrants can bring.”
Managing migration while respecting human rights has remained a major challenge in many member states, according to the report. While ECRI has observed several measures to facilitate the integration of migrants, in particular in the areas of housing, education and employment, the majority of the efforts remain largely limited to migration control. This risks hindering successful integration.