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CM(2008)30 final
2 May 20081
“Living Together As Equals in Dignity” 2

Table of contents


Dialogue–A Key to Europe's Future
1. Introduction

2. Embracing cultural diversity

3. Conceptual framework

4. Five policy approaches to the promotion of intercultural dialogue

5. Recommendations and policy orientations for future action: the shared responsibility of the core actors

6. The way ahead
Appendix 1

Appendix 2


Dialogue–A Key to Europe's Future

(1) Managing Europe’s increasing cultural diversity – rooted in the history of our continent and enhanced by globalisation – in a democratic manner has become a priority in recent years. How shall we respond to diversity? What is our vision of the society of the future? Is it a society of segregated communities, marked at best by the coexistence of majorities and minorities with differentiated rights and responsibilities, loosely bound together by mutual ignorance and stereotypes? Or is it a vibrant and open society without discrimination, benefiting us all, marked by the inclusion of all residents in full respect of their human rights? The Council of Europe believes that respect for, and promotion of, cultural diversity on the basis of the values on which the Organisation is built are essential conditions for the development of societies based on solidarity.

(2) The “White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue” presented here, emphatically argues in the name of the governments of the 47 member states of the Council of Europe that our common future depends on our ability to safeguard and develop human rights, as enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights, democracy and the rule of law and to promote mutual understanding. It reasons that the intercultural approach offers a forward-looking model for managing cultural diversity. It proposes a conception based on individual human dignity (embracing our common humanity and common destiny). If there is a European identity to be realised, it will be based on shared fundamental values, respect for common heritage and cultural diversity as well as respect for the equal dignity of every individual.

(3) Intercultural dialogue has an important role to play in this regard. It allows us to prevent ethnic, religious, linguistic and cultural divides. It enables us to move forward together, to deal with our different identities constructively and democratically on the basis of shared universal values.

(4) Intercultural dialogue can only thrive if certain preconditions are met. To advance intercultural dialogue, the White Paper argues, the democratic governance of cultural diversity should be adapted in many aspects; democratic citizenship and participation should be strengthened; intercultural competences should be taught and learned; spaces for intercultural dialogue should be created and widened; and intercultural dialogue should be taken to the international level.

(5) The White Paper is built on the solid foundations of the Council of Europe acquis. It takes account of the rich material from consultations with many stakeholders – including partners from regions outside Europe – held in 2007. In that sense, it is in many ways a product of the democratic deliberation which is at the heart of intercultural dialogue itself.

(6) The White Paper responds to an increasing demand to clarify how intercultural dialogue may help appreciate diversity while sustaining social cohesion. It seeks to provide a conceptual framework and a guide for policy-makers and practitioners. However, intercultural dialogue cannot be prescribed by law. It must retain its character as an open invitation to implement the underlying principles set out in this document, to apply flexibly the various recommendations presented here, and to contribute to the ongoing debate about the future organisation of society.

(7) The Council of Europe is deeply convinced that it is our common responsibility to achieve a society where we can live together as equals in dignity.


1. Introduction

1.1 The Council of Europe and intercultural dialogue

(8) Promoting intercultural dialogue contributes to the core objective of the Council of Europe, of preserving and promoting human rights, democracy and the rule of law. The First Summit of Heads of State and Government of member states (1993), which affirmed that cultural diversity characterised Europe’s rich heritage and that tolerance was the guarantee of an open society, led to the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (1995), the establishment of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance and the launching of the European Youth Campaign against racism, anti-Semitism, xenophobia and intolerance (“All Different – All Equal”).

The Third Summit of the Heads of State and Government (2005) identified intercultural dialogue (including its religious dimension) as a means of promoting awareness, understanding, reconciliation and tolerance, as well as preventing conflicts and ensuring integration and the cohesion of society. This was fleshed out in the “Faro Declaration on the Council of Europe’s Strategy for Developing Intercultural Dialogue”, adopted by the Ministers of culture later that year, which suggested preparing a White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue.

1.2 The White Paper process

(10) The Committee of Ministers, meeting in May 2006, specified that the White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue would identify how to promote intensified intercultural dialogue within and between societies in Europe and dialogue between Europe and its neighbours. It should also provide guidance on analytical and methodological tools and standards. The White Paper is addressed to policy-makers and administrators, to educators and the media, and to civil-society organisations, including migrant and religious communities, youth organisations and the social partners.

(11) Following a decision of the Committee of Ministers, a wide-scale consultation on intercultural dialogue ensued between January and June 2007. This embraced, inter alia, all relevant steering committees, members of the Parliamentary Assembly and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, as well as other bodies of the Council of Europe including the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), the European Committee of Social Rights, the High-level Task Force on Social Cohesion and the Commissioner for Human Rights. Questionnaires were sent to all member states, members of the Parliamentary Assembly and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, to representatives of religious communities, migrant communities and cultural and other non-governmental organisations. The Council of Europe Secretariat organised (or co-organised) events with non-governmental organisations of migrants, women, young people, journalists and media organisations as well as international institutions. Initial drafts were submitted to selected stakeholders for scrutiny in “feedback meetings”3 and to an informal Regional Conference of Ministers responsible for cultural affairs.4

(12) This process indicated considerable interest, and the Council of Europe is greatly indebted to all those who contributed so generously to the debate. The consultation revealed a confidence that the Council of Europe, because of its normative foundation and its wealth of experience, was well placed to take a timely initiative. And it generated a vast repertoire of suggestions on the content of the White Paper itself.

(13) What follows is built on the solid foundations of the Council of Europe acquis, notably the European Convention on Human Rights and other fundamental standards. It takes into account the rich material from the consultation. In that sense, it is in many ways a product of the democratic deliberation which is at the heart of intercultural dialogue itself. For the sake of readability and because many points were made by several organisations, the document does not attribute particular ideas to particular consultees.

(14) The huge volume of documents associated with the White Paper process is available on the Council of Europe website and in accompanying publications. This includes analyses of the responses by the member states, by non-governmental organisations and religious communities to the questionnaire on intercultural dialogue as well as monographs on intercultural dialogue under different aspects (education, media) and
specific stakeholders (youth, migrants). Additional documents – including a set of “Frequently Asked Questions” and press material – are available in print and on the website.

1.3 The major concerns

(15) One of the recurrent themes of the consultation was that old approaches to the management of cultural diversity were no longer adequate to societies in which the degree of that diversity (rather than its existence) was unprecedented and ever-growing. The responses to the questionnaires sent to member states, in particular, revealed a belief that what had until recently been a preferred policy approach, conveyed in shorthand as “multiculturalism”, had been found inadequate. On the other hand, there did not seem to be a desire to return to an older emphasis on assimilation. Achieving inclusive societies needed a new approach, and intercultural dialogue was the route to follow.

(16) There was, however, a notable lack of clarity as to what that phrase might mean. The consultation document invited respondents to give a definition, and there was a marked reluctance to do so. In part, this is because intercultural dialogue is not a new tablet of stone, amenable to a simple definition which can be applied without mediation in all concrete situations. In part, however, this indicated a genuine uncertainty as to what intercultural dialogue meant in practice.

(17) Respondents to the questionnaires and participants in consultation events nevertheless were united in stating that universal principles, as upheld by the Council of Europe, offered a moral compass. They provided the framework for a culture of tolerance, and made clear its limits – notably vis--vis any form of discrimination or acts of intolerance. Cultural traditions, whether they be “majority” or “minority” traditions, could not trump principles and standards of the European Convention on Human Rights and of other Council of Europe instruments concerning civil and political, social, economic and cultural rights.

(18) Specifically, it was stressed that gender equality was a non-negotiable premise of intercultural dialogue, which must draw on the experience of both women and men. Indeed, equality was a recurrent theme: the challenge of living together in a diverse society could only be met if we can live together as equals in dignity. This concern was strongly articulated by governments, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in general and migrant associations alike.

(19) It emerged that no sphere should be exempt from engaging in intercultural dialogue – be it the neighbourhood, the workplace, the education system and associated institutions, civil society and particularly the youth sector, the media, the arts world or the political arena. Every actor – whether NGOs, religious communities, the social partners or political parties – is implicated, as indeed are individuals. And every level of governance – from local to regional to national to international – is drawn into the democratic management of cultural diversity.

(20) Finally, and most concretely, the consultation highlighted the vast amount of accumulated good practice. What is needed is for this to be distilled and then disseminated, so that reticence can be overcome and positive experiences replicated. For, if there is one overall lesson of the consultation, it is that the need for intercultural dialogue is going to be relevant for many years to come.

1.4 Key terms

(21) The White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue, which generally follows the terminology developed by the Council of Europe and other international institutions, presents some concepts that need to be defined. In this White Paper,

(22) Intercultural dialogue is understood as an open and respectful exchange of views between individuals, groups with different ethnic, cultural, religious and linguistic backgrounds and heritage on the basis of mutual understanding and respect (cf. section 3). It operates at all levels – within societies, between the societies of Europe and between Europe and the wider world.

(23) Multiculturalism (like assimilationism) is understood as a specific policy approach (cf. section 3), whereas the terms cultural diversity and multiculturality denote the empirical fact that different cultures exist and may interact within a given space and social organisation.

(24) Social cohesion, as understood by the Council of Europe, denotes the capacity of a society to ensure the welfare of all its members, minimising disparities and avoiding polarisation. A cohesive society is a mutually supportive community of free individuals pursuing these common goals by democratic means.

(25) Stakeholders are all those groups and individuals of minority or majority background who play a role and have interests (a “stake”) in intercultural dialogue – most prominently policy makers in governments and parliaments at all levels, local and regional authorities, civil-society organisations, migrant and religious communities, cultural and media organisations, journalists and social partners.

(26) Public authorities include the national government and political and administrative bodies at the central, regional and local levels. The term also covers town councils or other local authority bodies, as well as natural or legal persons under private law who perform public functions or exercise administrative authority.

(27) Integration (social integration, inclusion) is understood as a two-sided process and as the capacity of people to live together with full respect for the dignity of each individual, the common good, pluralism and diversity, non-violence and solidarity, as well as their ability to participate in social, cultural, economic and political life. It encompasses all aspects of social development and all policies. It requires the protection of the weak, as well as the right to differ, to create and to innovate.5 Effective integration policies are needed to allow immigrants to participate fully in the life of the host country. Immigrants should, as everybody else, abide by the laws and respect the basic values of European societies and their cultural heritage. Strategies for integration must necessarily cover all areas of society, and include social, political and cultural aspects. They should respect immigrants’ dignity and distinct identity and to take them into account when elaborating policies.

(28) Positive action measures compensating for disadvantages arising from a person’s racial or ethnic origin, gender or other protected characteristics seek to promote full and effective equality as well as the equal enjoyment or exercise of human rights.

(29) There is no internationally agreed legal definition of the notion of minority. In the context of this White Paper this term is understood as designating persons, including migrants, belonging to groups smaller in numbers than the rest of the population and characterised by their identity, in particular their ethnicity, culture, religion or their language.

2. Embracing cultural diversity

2.1 Pluralism, tolerance and intercultural dialogue

(30) Cultural diversity is not a new phenomenon. The European canvas is marked by the sediments of intra-continental migrations, the redrawing of borders and the impact of colonialism and multinational empires. Over recent centuries, societies based on the principles of political pluralism and tolerance have enabled us to live with diversity without creating unacceptable risks for social cohesion.

(31) In recent decades, cultural diversification has gained momentum. Europe has attracted migrants in search of a better life and asylum-seekers from across the world. Globalisation has compressed space and time on a scale that is unprecedented. The revolutions in telecommunications and the media – particularly through the emergence of new communications services like the Internet – have rendered national cultural systems increasingly porous. The development of transport and tourism has brought more people than ever into face-to-face contact, engendering more and more opportunities for intercultural dialogue.
(32) In this situation, pluralism, tolerance and broadmindedness are more important than ever.6 The European Court of Human Rights has recognised that pluralism is built on “the genuine recognition of, and respect for, diversity and the dynamics of cultural traditions, ethnic and cultural identities, religious beliefs, artistic, literary and socio-economic ideas and concepts”, and that “the harmonious interaction of persons and groups with varied identities is essential for achieving social cohesion”.7

(33) However, pluralism, tolerance and broadmindedness may not be sufficient: a pro-active, a structured and widely shared effort in managing cultural diversity is needed. Intercultural dialogue is a major tool to achieve this aim, without which it will be difficult to safeguard the freedom and well-being of everyone living on our continent.

2.2 Equality of human dignity

(34) Diversity does not only contribute to cultural vitality but can also enhance social and economic performance. Indeed diversity, creativity and innovation provide a virtuous circle, whereas inequalities may also be mutually reinforcing, creating conflicts dangerous to human dignity and social welfare. What is the “glue”, then, that can bind together the people who share the continent?

(35) The democratic values underpinning the Council of Europe are universal; they are not distinctively European. Yet Europe’s 20th-century experience of inhumanity has driven a particular belief in the foundational value of individual human dignity. Since the Second World War, the European nation-states have set up ever more complete and transnational human-rights protections, available to everyone, not just national citizens. This corpus of human rights recognises the dignity of every human being, over and above the entitlements enjoyed by individuals as citizens of a particular state.

(36) This corpus of human rights acknowledges our common humanity and the unique individuality of all. Assimilation to a unity without diversity would mean an enforced homogenisation and loss of vitality, while diversity without any overarching common humanity and solidarity would make mutual recognition and social inclusion impossible. If there is a common identity, then, to be realised, it is an ethos of respect for the equal dignity of every individual and hospitality towards the wider world. Intrinsic to such an ethos is dialogue and interaction with others.

2.3 Standards and tools: the achievements of the Council of Europe over five decades8

(37) The robust European consensus on values is demonstrated by the various instruments of the Council of Europe: the conventions and agreements engaging all or some of the member states, as well as recommendations, declarations and opinions.

(38) The European Convention on Human Rights (1950) embodied the post-war commitment to human dignity, and created the European Court of Human Rights, which in its case-law interprets the Convention in the light of present-day conditions. Protocol No. 12 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (2000) contained a general prohibition of discrimination. The European Social Charter (adopted in 1961 and revised in 1996) made clear that the social rights which it set out applied to all without discrimination. The Declaration on Equality of Women and Men (1988) of the Committee of Ministers stated that sex-related discrimination in any field constitutes an impediment to the recognition, enjoyment and exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms. The European Convention on the Legal Status of Migrant Workers (1997) stipulated that migrant workers be treated no less favourably than nationals of member states.

(39) The European Cultural Convention (1954) affirmed the continent’s “common cultural heritage” and the associated need for intercultural learning, while the European Convention on Transfrontier Television (1989) highlighted the importance of broadcasting for the development of culture and the free formation of opinions. The Framework Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society (2005) identified how knowledge of this heritage could encourage trust and understanding.

(40) Promoting and protecting diversity in a spirit of tolerance was the theme of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (1992) and of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (1995). The European Outline Convention on Transfrontier Co-operation between Territorial Communities or Authorities (1980), the Convention on the Participation of Foreigners in Public Life at Local Level (1992) and the European Charter on the Participation of Young People in Local and Regional Life (2003, revised) addressed issues of participation in public life at the local level, as has the work of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, notably its Stuttgart Declaration on the integration of “foreigners” (2003). The Council of Europe/UNESCO Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education in the European Region (1997) prohibited taking into account external factors such as the convictions, beliefs and status of the applicant when recognising qualifications.

(41) Prior to the Faro Declaration on the Council of Europe’s Strategy for Developing Intercultural Dialogue (2005), intercultural dialogue itself became a theme for Ministers responsible for culture in the Opatija Declaration (2003), while their educational counterparts tackled intercultural education in the Athens Declaration (2003). The European Ministers responsible for Youth accorded priority to human-rights education, global solidarity, conflict transformation and interreligious co-operation in Budapest in 2005. Meanwhile, since the 1980s, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has contributed an array of recommendations, resolutions, hearings and debates on aspects of intercultural and interreligious dialogue.9 The Action Plan adopted at the Third Summit of Heads of States and Governments launched the development of strategies to manage and promote cultural diversity while ensuring the cohesion of societies and encouraged intercultural dialogue including its religious dimension.

(42) The Council of Europe also acts as an intergovernmental organisation and has an influence in the wider world through monitoring mechanisms, action programmes, policy advocacy and co-operation with its international partners. An important vehicle is the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), which monitors racism and all forms of related intolerance and discrimination in member states, elaborates General Policy Recommendations and works with civil society to raise awareness. ECRI is in regular contact with the Secretariat of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) of the OSCE and the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) of the European Union. More generally, the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe plays a valuable role in promoting education in, awareness of and respect for human rights. The European Commission for Democracy through Law (“Venice Commission”), the Council of Europe's advisory body on constitutional matters, has played a leading role in the adoption of constitutions that conform to the standards of Europe's constitutional heritage and has expressed itself frequently on the rights of minorities. The North-South Centre has developed into an important place of dialogue between cultures and a bridge between Europe and its neighbouring regions.

2.4 The risks of non-dialogue

(43) The risks of non-dialogue need to be fully appreciated. Not to engage in dialogue makes it easy to develop a stereotypical perception of the other, build up a climate of mutual suspicion, tension and anxiety, use minorities as scapegoats, and generally foster intolerance and discrimination. The breakdown of dialogue within and between societies can provide, in certain cases, a climate conducive to the emergence, and the exploitation by some, of extremism and indeed terrorism. Intercultural dialogue, including on the international plane, is indispensable between neighbours.

(44) Shutting the door on a diverse environment can offer only an illusory security. A retreat into the apparently reassuring comforts of an exclusive community may lead to a stifling conformism. The absence of dialogue deprives everyone of the benefit of new cultural openings, necessary for personal and social development in a globalised world. Segregated and mutually exclusive communities provide a climate that is often hostile to individual autonomy and the unimpeded exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

(45) An absence of dialogue does not take account of the lessons of Europe’s cultural and political heritage. European history has been peaceful and productive whenever a real determination prevailed to speak to our neighbour and to co-operate across dividing lines. It has all too often led to human catastrophe whenever there was a lack of openness towards the other. Only dialogue allows to live in unity in diversity.

3. Conceptual framework

3.1 The notion of intercultural dialogue

(46) For the purpose of this White Paper, intercultural dialogue is understood as a process that comprises an open and respectful exchange of views between individuals and groups with different ethnic, cultural, religious and linguistic backgrounds and heritage, on the basis of mutual understanding and respect. It requires the freedom and ability to express oneself, as well as the willingness and capacity to listen to the views of others. Intercultural dialogue contributes to political, social, cultural and economic integration and the cohesion of culturally diverse societies. It fosters equality, human dignity and a sense of common purpose. It aims to develop a deeper understanding of diverse worldviews and practices, to increase co-operation and participation (or the freedom to make choices), to allow personal growth and transformation, and to promote tolerance and respect for the other.

(47) Intercultural dialogue may serve several purposes, within the overriding objective to promote full respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of law. It is an essential feature of inclusive societies, which leave no one marginalised or defined as outsiders. It is a powerful instrument of mediation and reconciliation: through critical and constructive engagement across cultural fault-lines, it addresses real concerns about social fragmentation and insecurity while fostering integration and social cohesion. Freedom of choice, freedom of expression, equality, tolerance and mutual respect for human dignity are among the guiding principles in this context. Successful intercultural dialogue requires many of the attitudes fostered by a democratic culture – including open-mindedness, willingness to engage in dialogue and allow others to express their point, a capacity to resolve conflicts by peaceful means and a recognition of the well founded arguments of others. It contributes to strengthening democratic stability and to the fight against prejudice and stereotypes in public life and political discourse and to facilitating coalition-building across diverse cultural and religious communities, and can thereby help to prevent or de-escalate conflicts – including in situations of post conflict and “frozen conflicts”.

(48) There is no question of easy solutions. Intercultural dialogue is not a cure for all evils and an answer to all questions, and one has to recognise that its scope can be limited. It is often pointed out, rightly, that dialogue with those who refuse dialogue is impossible, although this does not relieve open and democratic societies of their obligation to constantly offer opportunities for dialogue. On the other hand, dialogue with those who are ready to take part in dialogue but do not – or do not fully – share “our” values may be the starting point of a longer process of interaction, at the end of which an agreement on the significance and practical implementation of the values of human rights, democracy and the rule of law may very well be reached.

3.2 Identity-building in a multicultural environment

(49) Individual human dignity is at the foundation of society. The individual, however, is not as such a homogeneous social actor. Our identity, by definition, is not what makes us the same as others but what makes us unique. Identity is a complex and contextually sensitive combination of elements.

(50) Freedom to choose one’s own culture is fundamental; it is a central aspect of human rights. Simultaneously or at various stages in their lives, everyone may adopt different cultural affiliations. Whilst every individual, to a certain extent, is a product of his or her heritage and social background, in contemporary modern democracies everyone can enrich his or her own identity by integrating different cultural affiliations. No one should be confined against their will within a particular group, community, thought-system or world view, but should be free to renounce past choices and make new ones – as long as they are consistent with the universal values of human rights, democracy and the rule of law. Mutual openness and sharing are twin aspects of multiple cultural affiliation. Both are rules of coexistence applying to individuals and groups, who are free to practise their cultures, subject only to respect for others.

(51) Intercultural dialogue is therefore important in managing multiple cultural affiliations in a multicultural environment. It is a mechanism to constantly achieve a new identity balance, responding to new openings and experiences and adding new layers to identity without relinquishing one’s roots. Intercultural dialogue helps us to avoid the pitfalls of identity policies and to remain open to the challenges of modern societies.

3.3 Prior approaches to cultural diversity

(52) At the height of the Europe of the nation-state, from around 1870 to 1945, it was widely assumed that all those who lived within a state boundary should assimilate to its predominant ethos, into which successive generations were socialised – via, inter alia, national, sometimes nationalistic, rituals. However, over the last centuries Europe has also seen other more positive experiences, for instance during certain periods of the history of Central and Eastern Europe, which helps us to understand how different cultures and religions could peacefully coexist in mutual tolerance and respect.

(53) In what became the western part of a divided post-war Europe, the experience of immigration was associated with a new concept of social order known as multiculturalism. This advocated political recognition of what was perceived as the distinct ethos of minority communities on a par with the “host” majority. While this was ostensibly a radical departure from assimilationism, in fact multiculturalism frequently shared the same, schematic conception of society set in opposition of majority and minority, differing only in endorsing separation of the minority from the majority rather than assimilation to it.

(54) The Opatija Declaration (2003) rejected this paradigm. Defining cultural diversity, it argued that “this principle cannot be applied exclusively in terms of “majority” or “minority”, for this pattern singles out cultures and communities, and categorises and stigmatises them in a static position, to the point at which social behaviour and cultural stereotypes are assumed on the basis of groups’ respective status”. Identities that partly overlap are no contradiction: they are a source of strength and point to the possibility of common ground.

(55) Whilst driven by benign intentions, multiculturalism is now seen by many as having fostered communal segregation and mutual incomprehension, as well as having contributed to the undermining of the rights of individuals – and, in particular, women – within minority communities, perceived as if these were single collective actors. The cultural diversity of contemporary societies has to be acknowledged as an empirical fact. However, a recurrent theme of the consultation was that multiculturalism was a policy with which respondents no longer felt at ease.

(56) Neither of these models, assimilation or multiculturalism, is applied singularly and wholly in any state. Elements of them combine with aspects of the emerging interculturalist paradigm, which incorporates the best of both. It takes from assimilation the focus on the individual; it takes from multiculturalism the recognition of cultural diversity. And it adds the new element, critical to integration and social cohesion, of dialogue on the basis of equal dignity and shared values.

3.4 The conditions of intercultural dialogue

3.4.1 Human rights, democracy and the rule of law

(57) The universal values upheld by the Council of Europe are a condition for intercultural dialogue. No dialogue can take place in the absence of respect for the equal dignity of all human beings, human rights, the rule of law and democratic principles. These values, and in particular respect for freedom of expression and other fundamental freedoms, guarantee non-domination and are thus essential to ensure that dialogue is governed by the force of argument rather than the argument of force.

(58) Since competing human rights may be advanced, a fair balance must be struck when faced with intercultural issues. The case-law of the European Court of Human Rights and the practice of monitoring bodies such as ECRI or the Advisory Committee of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities indicate how such balance can be achieved in practice.

(59) Ethnic, cultural, religious or linguistic affiliations or traditions cannot be invoked to prevent individuals from exercising their human rights or from responsible participating in society. This principle applies especially to the right not to suffer from gender-based or other forms of discrimination, the rights and interests of children and young people, and the freedom to practise or not to practise a particular religion or belief. Human rights abuses, such as forced marriages, “honour crimes” or genital mutilations10 can never be justified whatever the cultural context. Equally, the rules of a – real or imagined – “dominant culture” cannot be used to justify discrimination, hate speech or any form of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, ethnic origin or other identity.

(60) Democracy is the foundation of our political system, and citizens are valued also as political actors and not only as social beings, contributors to or beneficiaries of the well-being of the nation. Democracy thrives because it helps individuals identify with the society of which they are members and because it provides for legitimate decision-making and exercise of power. The growth of the Council of Europe over the past two decades is a potent witness to the force of democracy. Critical and constructive dialogue, itself a profoundly democratic standard, has to recognize other democratic principles such as pluralism, inclusiveness and equality. It is important that dialogue acknowledges the spirit of democratic culture and its essential elements: mutual respect among participants and the readiness of everyone to seek and accept a common ground.

(61) The fundamental standards of the rule of law in democratic societies are necessary elements of the framework within which intercultural dialogue can flourish. They ensure a clear separation of powers, legal certainty and equality of all before the law. They stop public authorities taking arbitrary and discriminatory decisions, and ensure that individuals whose rights are violated can seek redress from the courts.

3.4.2 Equal dignity and mutual respect

(62) Intercultural dialogue entails a reflexive disposition, in which one can see oneself from the perspective of others. On the foundation of the values of the Council of Europe, this requires a democratic architecture characterised by the respect of the individual as a human being, reciprocal recognition (in which this status of equal worth is recognised by all), and impartial treatment (where all claims arising are subject to rules that all can share).

(63) This demarcates the intercultural approach more clearly from preceding models. Unlike assimilation, it recognises that public authorities must be impartial, rather than accepting a majority ethos only, if communalist tensions are to be avoided. Unlike multiculturalism, however, it vindicates a common core which leaves no room for moral relativism. Unlike both, it recognises a key role for the associational sphere of civic society where, premised on reciprocal recognition, intercultural dialogue can resolve the problems of daily life in a way that governments alone cannot.

(64) Equality and mutual respect are important building blocks of intercultural dialogue and essential to remove the barriers to its realisation. Where progress towards equality is lacking, social tensions may manifest themselves in the cultural arena, even if the root causes lie elsewhere, and cultural identities themselves may be used to stigmatise.

3.4.3 Gender equality

(65) Equality between women and men is a core issue in changing societies, as the 5th European Ministerial Conference on Equality between Women and Men (2003) emphasised. It is a crucial element of democracy. Gender equality is an integral part of human rights and sex-based discrimination is an impediment to the enjoyment of human rights and freedoms. Respect for women’s human rights is a non-negotiable foundation of any discussion of cultural diversity.

(66) The fight against gender inequality should not give rise to insidious stereotyping, however. It is important to stress the illegitimacy of coded equations between “minority communities” and “gender inequality”, as if all in the “host” community was perfect and as if everything related to minorities and adherents to particular religions was problematic. Common gender experiences can overlap communal divides precisely because no community has a monopoly of gender equality or inequality.

(67) Gender equality injects a positive dimension into intercultural dialogue. The complexity of individual identity allows solidarities inconceivable within a stereotyped, communalist perspective. The very fact that gender inequality is a cross-cutting issue means that intercultural projects engaging women from “minority” and “host” backgrounds may be able to build upon shared experiences.

(68) The Council of Europe’s Revised Strategy on Social Cohesion makes clear that equality between women and men is a fundamental and highly relevant commitment. It urges a “gender mainstreaming perspective” in the arena of social cohesion, and in intercultural dialogue this should equally be present throughout.

3.4.4 Combating the barriers that prevent intercultural dialogue

(69) There are many barriers to intercultural dialogue. Some of these are the result of the difficulty in communicating in several languages. But others concern power and politics: discrimination, poverty and exploitation – experiences which often bear particularly heavily on persons belonging to disadvantaged and marginalised groups – are structural barriers to dialogue. In many European societies one also finds groups and political organisations preaching hatred of “the other”, “the foreigner” or certain religious identities. Racism, xenophobia, intolerance and all other forms of discrimination refuse the very idea of dialogue and represent a standing affront to it.

3.5 The religious dimension

(70) Part of Europe’s rich cultural heritage is a range of religious, as well as secular, conceptions of the purpose of life. Christianity, Judaism and Islam, with their inner range of interpretations, have deeply influenced our continent. Yet conflicts where faith has provided a communal marker have been a feature of Europe’s old and recent past.

(71) Freedom of thought, conscience and religion is one of the foundations of democratic society and protected by Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights. This freedom is one of the most vital elements referring to the identity of believers and their conception of life, as it is also for atheists, agnostics, sceptics and the unconcerned. While guaranteeing this freedom, Article 9 does allow that the manifestations of expression of this freedom can be restricted under defined conditions. The issue of religious symbols in the public sphere, particularly in education, has been addressed by the European Court of Human Rights.11 Because of the relative lack of consensus on matters of religion across the member states, the Court has tended to give to states a large – though not unlimited – “margin of appreciation” (i.e. discretion) in this arena.

(72) There are considerable overlaps between the Council of Europe's agenda and the concerns of religious communities: human rights, democratic citizenship, the promotion of values, peace, dialogue, education and solidarity. And there was consensus during the consultation that it was the responsibility of the religious communities themselves, through interreligious dialogue, to contribute to an increased understanding between different cultures.

(73) The important role of religious communities with regard to dialogue means that efforts should be undertaken in this field between the religious communities and public authorities. The Council of Europe is already engaged to this end through various initiatives of the Parliamentary Assembly and the seminars of the Commissioner for Human Rights, who since 2000 has brought together representatives of religious communities with the aim of associating them with the human rights agenda of the Council of Europe. Religious practice is part of contemporary human life, and it therefore cannot and should not be outside the sphere of interest of public authorities, although the state must preserve its role as the neutral and impartial organiser of the exercise of various religions, faiths and beliefs.12 The “Volga Forum Declaration” (2006)13 called for the Council of Europe to enter “an open, transparent and regular dialogue” with religious organisations, while recognising that this must be underpinned by universal values and principles. This could replicate the round-table approach which individual member states have taken to dialogue with religious communities. The San Marino Declaration (2007)14 on the religious dimension of intercultural dialogue affirmed that religions could elevate and enhance dialogue. It identified the context as a shared ambition to protect individual human dignity by the promotion of human rights, including equality between women and men, to strengthen social cohesion and to foster mutual understanding and respect. In the San Marino Declaration, the religious and civil-society representatives present welcomed the interest of the Council of Europe in this field; they recognised that the Council of Europe would remain neutral towards the various religions whilst defending the freedom of thought, conscience and religion, the rights and duties of all citizens, and the respective autonomy of state and religions. They considered that there is a need for appropriate fora to consider the impact of religious practice on other areas of public policies, such as health and education, without discrimination and with due respect for the rights of non-believers. Those holding non-religious worldviews have an equal right to contribute, alongside religious representatives, to debates on the moral foundations of society and to be engaged in forums for intercultural dialogue.

(74) On 8 April 2008, the Council of Europe organised, on an experimental basis, an exchange on the religious dimension of intercultural dialogue on the theme “Teaching religious and convictional facts. A tool for acquiring knowledge about religions and beliefs in education; a contribution to education for democratic citizenship, human rights and intercultural dialogue.” Member and observer states of the Council of Europe as well as the Organisation’s institutional partners, the European Commission, representatives of the religions traditionally present in Europe and of other beliefs, representatives of INGOs/NGOs, experts and representatives of the media participated in the “Exchange”. An innovative and experimental event, its main aim was to promote and strengthen the Council of Europe’s fundamental values – respect for human rights, promotion of democracy and the rule of law – thus contributing to fostering within European society mutual respect and awareness, tolerance and understanding. The exercise associated representatives of religions and other actors of civil society, including representatives of other beliefs, with this objective, by involving them in open, transparent dialogue on a theme rooted with those values. The purpose was not to engage in theological debate, nor to become the framework of an interconfessional dialogue.

(75) Apart from the dialogue between public authorities and religious communities, which should be encouraged, there is also the need for a dialogue between religious communities themselves (interreligious dialogue). The Council of Europe has frequently recognised interreligious dialogue, which is not directly within its remit, as a part of intercultural dialogue and encouraged religious communities to engage actively in promoting human rights, democracy and the rule of law in a multicultural Europe. Interreligious dialogue can also contribute to a stronger consensus within society regarding the solutions to social problems. Furthermore, the Council of Europe sees the need for a dialogue within religious communities and philosophical convictions (intrareligious and intra-convictional dialogue), not least in order to allow public authorities to communicate with authorised representatives of religions and beliefs seeking recognition under national law.

4. Five policy approaches to the promotion of intercultural dialogue

(76) There are five distinct yet interrelated dimensions to the promotion of intercultural dialogue, which involve the full range of stakeholders. It depends on the democratic governance of cultural diversity. It requires participation and democratic citizenship. It demands the acquisition of intercultural competences. It needs open spaces for dialogue. Finally, it must be taken on to the international scale. Initiatives in these five dimensions have been tried and tested.15

4.1 Democratic governance of cultural diversity

4.1.1 A political culture valuing diversity

(77) The cornerstones of a political culture valuing diversity are the common values of democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms, the rule of law, pluralism, tolerance, non-discrimination and mutual respect.

(78) A culture of diversity can only develop if democracy reconciles majority rule and the rights of persons belonging to minorities. Imposing the will of the majority on the minority without ensuring an effective protection of rights for all is incompatible with the principles of the common European constitutional heritage. A European society committed to combining unity and diversity cannot be a “winner takes all” society, but must suffuse the political arena with values of equality and mutual respect. Democracy does not simply mean that the views of a majority must always prevail: a balance must be achieved which ensures the fair and proper treatment of persons belonging to minorities and avoids any abuse of a dominant position.16

(79) Developing a political culture supportive of cultural pluralism is a demanding task. It entails an education system which generates capacities for critical thinking and innovation, and spaces in which people are allowed to participate and to express themselves. Law enforcement officials, politicians, teachers and other professional groups, as well as civil-society leaders should be trained to operate in culturally diverse communities. Culture must be dynamic and characterised by experiment. The media are called upon to circulate objective information and fresh thinking, and challenge stereotypes. There must be a multiplicity of initiatives and committed stakeholders, particularly involving a robust civil society.

4.1.2 Human rights and fundamental freedoms

(80) Human rights provide an essential framework for the practice of intercultural dialogue. Among the most relevant provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights are the rights to freedom of thought and expression, to freedom of religion, to free assembly and association, to privacy and family life. The rights in the Convention must be enjoyed without discrimination in any form. In addition, Protocol No. 12 to the Convention provides for a general prohibition of discrimination. The rights portfolio also includes, besides civil and political rights, the socio-economic rights arising from the European Social Charter, which addresses many of the issues which can bear particularly heavily on persons belonging to disadvantaged groups (access to employment, education, social protection, health and housing),17 and the cultural rights identified in various charters and conventions, such as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966).

(81) Freedom of expression, guaranteed by Article 10 paragraph 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights, is a sine qua non of participation in intercultural dialogue. The exercise of this freedom, which comes with duties and responsibilities, may be limited in certain specific conditions defined in Article 10 paragraph 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights. “Hate speech” has been an increasing concern of the European Court of Human Rights in recent years, and in its jurisprudence the Court has drawn the boundary, case by case, beyond which the right to freedom of expression is forfeited.

(82) Some expressions are so gratuitously offensive, defamatory or insulting as to threaten a culture of tolerance itself – indeed, they may inflict not only unconscionable indignity on members of minority communities but also expose them to intimidation and threat. Inciting hatred based on intolerance is not compatible with respect for fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Convention and the Court’s jurisprudence.

(83) The European Court of Human Rights has however set a high bar against restrictions on free expression, indicating that even expression that “offend, shock or disturb” should be protected.18 This means, for example, a certain licence to criticise another’s religion (as a system of ideas which they can choose to embrace). The Court takes into account the impact and context of the expressions made, in particular whether they contribute to a pluralistic public debate on matters of general interest.

(84) As for the media, the basic principle is the defence of freedom of expression even if there is however a recognition of the special duties and responsibilities of journalists who must be free to express their opinions – including value judgments – on matters of public concern, but who are also responsible for the collection and dissemination of objective information. There is a need to foster the awareness of media professionals of the necessity for intercultural dialogue and co-operation across ethnic, cultural, religious and linguistic boundaries with a view to promoting a culture of tolerance and mutual understanding, bearing in mind their role in informing the public.

4.1.3 From equality of opportunity to equal enjoyment of rights

(85) The “European social model”, referred to in the Revised Strategy for Social Cohesion, seeks to secure a profound equality of life chances. Those who most need their rights to be protected are often least well equipped to claim them. Legal protection of rights has to be accompanied by determined social policy measures to ensure that everyone in practice has access to their rights. Thus, the European Social Charter and the European Convention on the Legal Status of Migrant Workers stress, for example, that states parties undertake that migrant workers and their families residing legally on their territory should be entitled to treatment no less favourable than that accorded to their nationals in a range of social and economic contexts.

(86) Over and above the principle of non-discrimination, states are also encouraged to take positive-action measures to redress the inequalities, stemming from discrimination, experienced by members of disadvantaged groups. In the public sphere, state authorities must strictly respect the prohibition of discrimination, an expression of neutrality in cultural and religious matters. Yet, formal equality is not always sufficient and promoting effective equality could, in some cases, necessitate adoption of specific measures that are coherent with the principle of non-discrimination. In certain circumstances, the absence of differential treatment to correct an inequality may, without reasonable and objective justification, amount to discrimination. 19

(87) It may be necessary to take, within certain limits, practical measures to accommodate for diversity.20 Such accommodation measures should not infringe the rights of others or result in disproportionate organisational difficulties or excessive costs.

4.2 Democratic citizenship and participation

(88) Citizenship, in the widest sense, is a right and indeed a responsibility to participate in the cultural, social and economic life and in public affairs21 of the community together with others. This is key to intercultural dialogue, because it invites us to think of others not in a stereotypical way – as “the other” – but as fellow citizens and equals. Facilitating access to citizenship is an educational as much as a regulatory and legal task. Citizenship enhances civic participation and so contributes to the added value newcomers bring, which in turn cements social cohesion.

(89) Active participation by all residents in the life of the local community contributes to its prosperity, and enhances integration. A right for foreigners legally resident in the municipality or region to participate in local and regional elections is a vehicle to promote participation.

(90) The European Convention on Nationality (1997) commits signatory states to provide for the naturalisation of persons lawfully and habitually resident on their territory, with a maximum ten-year threshold before a nationality application can be made. This need not require the abrogation of the nationality of the country of origin. The right of foreign children to acquire the nationality of the country where they were born and reside may further encourage integration.

(91) The Committee of Ministers has expressed its concern at growing levels of political and civic disengagement and lack of confidence in democratic institutions, and an increasing threat of racism and xenophobia. Yet there have been mixed trends in Europe. Strong levels of social trust and engagement in civil-society organisations, observed in some member states, have been linked to a system of democratic governance, with impartial public authority buttressed by the rule of law, which promotes participation. By contributing to social trust and enhancing the participation of otherwise marginalised members of minority communities, intercultural dialogue can make democracy more meaningful to the citizen.

(92) A crucially important role is played in this regard by local and regional authorities. The Council of Europe Convention on the Participation of Foreigners in Public Life at Local Level urges that such participation be enhanced. Care is needed to avoid the temptation to look only to first-generation, male minority leaders as convenient interlocutors. It is important to recognise the diversity and social relationships within minority communities and particularly to involve young people.

4.3 Learning and teaching intercultural competences

(93) The competences necessary for intercultural dialogue are not automatically acquired: they need to be learned, practised and maintained throughout life. Public authorities, education professionals, civil-society organisations, religious communities, the media and all other providers of education – working in all institutional contexts and at all levels – can play a crucial role here in the pursuit of the aims and core values upheld by the Council of Europe and in furthering intercultural dialogue. Inter-institutional cooperation is crucial, in particular with the EU, UNESCO, ALECSO and other partners working in this field.

4.3.1 Key competence areas: democratic citizenship, language, history

(94) Education for democratic citizenship is fundamental to a free, tolerant, just, open and inclusive society, to social cohesion, mutual understanding, intercultural and interreligious dialogue and solidarity, as well as equality between women and men. It embraces any formal, non-formal or informal educational activity, including vocational training, the family and communities of reference, enabling an individual to act as an active and responsible citizen respectful of others. Education for democratic citizenship involves, inter alia, civic, history, political and human-rights education, education on the global context of societies and on cultural heritage. It encourages multidisciplinary approaches and combines the acquisition of knowledge, skills and attitudes – particularly the capacity for reflection and the self-critical disposition necessary for life in culturally diverse societies.

(95) Language is often a barrier to conducting intercultural conversations. The interculturalist approach recognises the value of the languages used by members of minority communities, but sees it as essential that minority members acquire the language which predominates in the state, so that they can act as full citizens. This chimes with the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, which argues that lesser-spoken languages should be protected from eventual extinction as they contribute to the cultural wealth of Europe, and that use of such languages is an inalienable right. At the same time, it stresses the value of multilingualism and insists that the protection of languages which enjoy minority usage in a particular state should not be to the detriment of official languages and the need to learn them. Language learning helps learners to avoid stereotyping individuals, to develop curiosity and openness to otherness and to discover other cultures. Language learning helps them to see that interaction with individuals having different social identities and cultures is an enriching experience.

(96) The Committee of Ministers’ recommendation on history teaching in 21st-century Europe (2001)22 stressed the need to develop in pupils the intellectual ability to analyse and interpret information critically and responsibly, through dialogue, through the search for historical evidence and open debate based on multiperspectivity, especially on controversial and sensitive issues. History teaching is instrumental in preventing recurrence or denial of the Holocaust, genocides and other crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing and the massive violations of human rights, in overcoming the wounds of the past and in promoting the fundamental values to which the Council of Europe is particularly committed; it is a decisive factor in reconciliation, recognition, understanding and mutual trust between peoples. History teaching in a democratic Europe should occupy a vital place in the training of responsible and active citizens and in the developing of respect for all kinds of differences, based on an understanding of national identity and on principles of tolerance. History teaching must not be an instrument of ideological manipulation, of propaganda or used for the promotion of intolerant and ultra-nationalistic, xenophobic, racist or anti-Semitic ideas. Historical research and history as it is taught in schools cannot in any way, with any intention, be compatible with the fundamental values and statutes of the Council of Europe if it allows or promotes misuses of history. History teaching must encompass the elimination of prejudice and stereotypes, through the highlighting in history syllabuses of positive mutual influences between different countries, religions and schools of thought over the period of Europe’s historical development as well as critical study of misuses of history, whether these stem from denials of historical facts, falsification, omission, ignorance or re-appropriation to ideological ends.

4.3.2 Primary and secondary education

(97) In a multicultural Europe, education is not only preparing for the labour market, supporting personal development and providing a broad knowledge base; schools are also important fora for the preparation of young people for life as active citizens. They are responsible for guiding and supporting young people in acquiring the tools and developing attitudes necessary for life in society in all its aspects or with strategies for acquiring them, and enable them to understand and acquire the values that underpin democratic life, introducing respect for human rights as the foundations for managing diversity and stimulating openness to other cultures.

(98) Within the formal curriculum, the intercultural dimension straddles all subjects. History, language education and the teaching of religious and convictional facts are perhaps among the most relevant.23 Education as to religious and convictional facts in an intercultural context makes available knowledge about all the world religions and beliefs and their history, and enables the individual to understand religions and beliefs and avoid prejudice. This approach has been taken by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the European Court of Human Rights and ECRI.24 In 2007, the European Ministers of Education underlined the importance of measures to improve understanding between cultural and/or religious communities through school education, on the basis of shared principles of ethics and democratic citizenship; regardless of the religious education system that prevails, tuition should take account of religious and convictional diversity.25

4.3.3 Higher education and research

(99) Higher-education institutions play an important role in fostering intercultural dialogue, through their education programmes, as actors in broader society and as sites where intercultural dialogue is put into practice. As the Steering Committee on Higher Education and Research suggests, the university is ideally defined precisely by its universality – its commitment to open-mindedness and openness to the world, founded on enlightenment values. The university thus has great potential to engender “intercultural intellectuals” who can play an active role in the public sphere.

(100) This needs to be assisted by scholarly research on intercultural learning, to address the aspects of “learning to live together” and cultural diversity in all teaching activities.

4.3.4 Non-formal and informal learning

(101) Non-formal learning outside schools and universities, particularly in youth work and all forms of voluntary and civic services, plays an equally prominent role. The Council of Europe has encouraged member states to promote non-formal education and to encourage young people’s commitment and contribution to the values underpinning intercultural dialogue.

(102) Youth and sport organisations, together with religious communities, are particularly well placed to advance intercultural dialogue in a non-formal education context. Youth groups and community centres, alongside the family, school and workplace, can be pillars of social cohesion. Through the wide variety of their programmes, the open and voluntary nature of their activities and the commitment of their members, these organisations are often more successful than others in actively involving persons with a minority background and offering opportunities for dialogue. Active civil-society and non-governmental organisations are an indispensable element of pluralist democracy, promoting active participation in public affairs and responsible democratic citizenship based on human rights and equality between women and men. Therefore migrant organisations could be enabled and funded for developing voluntary services for persons from a minority background, in particular young people, to improve their chances on the job market as well as in the society.

(103) Informal learning is also promoted through the media and new communication services, which offer ample opportunities for contact with other cultural practices.

4.3.5 The role of educators

(104) Educators at all levels play an essential role in fostering intercultural dialogue and in preparing future generations for dialogue. Through their commitment and by practising with their pupils and students what they teach, educators serve as important role models.

(105) Teacher-training curricula need to teach educational strategies and working methods to prepare teachers to manage the new situations arising from diversity, discrimination, racism, xenophobia, sexism and marginalisation and to resolve conflicts peacefully, as well as to foster a global approach to institutional life on the basis of democracy and human rights and create a community of students, taking account of individual unspoken assumptions, school atmosphere and informal aspects of education.

(106) Teacher training institutions also need to develop quality-assurance instruments inspired by education for democratic citizenship, taking account of the intercultural dimension, and develop indicators and tools for self-evaluation and self-focused development for educational establishments. They need to strengthen intercultural education and management of diversity within in-service training.

(107) The aim of the European Resource Centre on education for democratic citizenship and intercultural education in Oslo is to promote understanding and increase mutual knowledge in order to build trust and prevent conflicts through teacher training, in cooperation with the Council of Europe.

4.3.6 The family environment

(108) Parents and the wider family environment play important roles in preparing young people for living in a culturally diverse society. As role models for their children, they need to be involved fully in changing mentalities and perceptions. Adult and family education programmes addressing the issue of cultural diversity can assist the family in fulfilling this role.

4.4 Spaces for intercultural dialogue

(109) It is essential to engender spaces for dialogue that are open to all. Successful intercultural governance, at any level, is largely a matter of cultivating such spaces: physical spaces like streets, markets and shops, houses, kindergartens, schools and universities, cultural and social centres, youth clubs, churches, synagogues and mosques, company meeting rooms and workplaces, museums, libraries and other leisure facilities, or virtual spaces like the media.

(110) Town planning is an obvious example: urban space can be organised in “single-minded” fashion or more “open-minded” ways. The former include the conventional suburb, housing estate, industrial zone, car park or ring road. The latter embrace the busy square, the park, the lively street, the pavement caf or the market. If single-minded areas favour an atomised existence, open-minded places can bring diverse sections of society together and breed a sense of tolerance. It is critically important that migrant populations do not find themselves, as so often, concentrated on soulless and stigmatised housing estates, excluded and alienated from city life.

(111) Cultural activities can provide knowledge of diverse cultural expressions and so contribute to tolerance, mutual understanding and respect. Cultural creativity offers important potential for enhancing the respect of otherness. The arts are also a playground of contradiction and symbolic confrontation, allowing for individual expression, critical self-reflection and mediation. They thus naturally cross borders and connect and speak directly to people’s emotions. Creative citizens, engaged in cultural activity, produce new spaces and potentials for dialogue.

(112) Museums and heritage sites have the potential to challenge, in the name of a common humanity, selective narratives reflecting the historical dominance of members of one or other ethnic or national community, and to offer scope for mutual recognition by individuals from diverse backgrounds. Exploring Europe’s cultural heritage can provide the backdrop to the plural European citizenship required in contemporary times. Europe’s historical transborder and continental routes, today rediscovered with the help of the Council of Europe as the network of “cultural routes”, influenced the history of cultural relations and for centuries supported intercultural exchange; they provide access to Europe’s multicultural heritage and illustrate the ability to live together peacefully in diversity.

(113) Kindergartens, schools, youth clubs and youth activities in general are key sites for intercultural learning and dialogue. For this to be true, children and young people should be given the opportunity to meet and engage with their peers from diverse backgrounds, with a view to communicate and to develop joint activities. The more integrated these sites are, the more effective they are in terms of intercultural learning.

(114) The media present critical spaces for indirect dialogue. They express society’s cultural diversity, they put cultures into context and can provide platforms for diverse perspectives with which their readers, viewers or listeners may not come into contact day to day. To do so, they should ensure that their own workforces are diverse and trained to engage with diversity. The new communication services allow members of otherwise passive media audiences to participate in mediated intercultural dialogue, particularly via social-networking sites, web-based forums and “wiki” collaborations.

(115) A bewildering array of identity role models are offered by the global media. Faced with such complexity, applying to “the other” a simplifying stereotype – on to which all the ills of the world can be projected – can be insidiously seductive. Managing diversity democratically is a delicate work: it should not heavy-handedly put dialogue in a straitjacket and should prevent it from being used to incite hate or intolerance.

(116) Sport is an important potential arena for intercultural dialogue, which connects it directly to everyday life. Football in particular, as a global game, has been the subject of many anti-racist initiatives in recent years, supported in a European context by UEFA, which has identified a 10-point plan and issued associated guidance to clubs. Playing together under impartial and universal rules and a governing notion of fair play can frame an intercultural experience.

(117) The workplace should not be ignored as a site for intercultural dialogue. Diversity is a factor for innovation, as evidenced by the hubs of the knowledge economy. Diverse workforces can spark fresh approaches via teamwork and employee participation. Tolerance has been found to be a significant factor in attracting the talent to develop the technology that is key to competitive success. Many members of minority groups, however, are concentrated in low-paid and insecure jobs. Trade unions can play a critical role here, not only in improving conditions but also in offering sites for intercultural solidarity which can counter the damaging effects of labour-market segmentation, which racist organisations may exploit.

(118) The daily life of public services, non-governmental organisations and religious communities offers many occasions for intercultural dialogue, as against mere encounters. Health, youth and education services engage members of minority communities on a daily basis. Their staff must be competent, in terms of access to interpretation where required, and trained so that such encounters become productive engagements. In health, for instance, maternity and mental health may be particularly sensitive. The recruitment of members of minority groups from different ethnic, religious, cultural and linguistic backgrounds in public services can add to the range of intercultural competences which may assist dealing with diverse service users, on a basis of mutuality and dignity. Town twinning schemes are excellent opportunities for promoting expertise in this area.

4.5 Intercultural dialogue in international relations

(119) Europe’s commitment to multilateralism based on international law and the promotion of human rights, democracy and the rule of law should inspire intercultural dialogue on an international scale. Applying these principles to intercultural dialogue in the international sphere is an important task in facilitating mutual understanding. The European consensus on this task has been strengthened by the conclusions reached by the Third Summit of the Council of Europe (Warsaw 2005) and elaborated in later documents.

(120) The current geopolitical situation is sometimes described as one of mutually exclusive civilisations, vying for relative economic and political advantages at each other’s cost. The concept of intercultural dialogue can help overcome the sterile juxtapositions and stereotypes that may flow from such a worldview because it emphasises that in a global environment, marked by migration, growing interdependence and easy access to international media and new communication services like the internet, cultural identities are increasingly complex, they overlap and contain elements from many different sources. Imbuing international relations with the spirit of intercultural dialogue responds productively to this new condition. Intercultural dialogue can thus contribute to conflict prevention and conflict solution, and support reconciliation and the rebuilding of social trust.

(121) The Council of Europe remains open to co-operation with Europe’s neighbouring regions and the rest of the world. The Organisation, which is strongly committed to ensure co-ordination and complementarity of its action with that of other international institutions, notably at European level, has the task of contributing to intercultural dialogue at an international level. In international action, in particular on the European scene, is an important contributor to intercultural dialogue. Its “added value”, which it puts at the disposal of other international institutions, member states, civil society and all the other stakeholders, consists primarily of its rich expertise in terms of standards and monitoring mechanisms in human rights, democracy and the rule of law. The Council of Europe can also contribute its expertise on the challenges posed by cultural diversity in the social, educational, health and cultural spheres. The Organisation reaches out, continuously and in a structured way, to key stakeholder groups like the members of national parliaments, local and regional authorities and civil-society organisations in the 47 member states. Finally, it can contribute via institutions like the European Centre for Global Interdependence and Solidarity (the North-South Centre, Lisbon), the European Centre for Modern Languages (Graz), the two European Youth Centres (Strasbourg and Budapest), well as through cooperation with the European Resource Centre on Education for Democratic Citizenship and Intercultural Education (Oslo) and the European Cultural Centre of Delphi.

(122) The Council of Europe acknowledges the importance of initiatives taken by other international actors and values its partnerships with institutions, such as the European Union, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and UNESCO, as well as the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organisation (ALECSO) and the Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for the Dialogue between Cultures. The Council of Europe contributes to the “Alliance of Civilizations” launched by the United Nations Secretary General and sponsored by Spain and Turkey, and is considering concluding a Memorandum of Understanding with the “Alliance” in order to strengthen their relations of co-operation.26 It is also exploring ways to promote intercultural dialogue in the framework of the Council of Europe’s acquis in the fields of human rights, democracy and the rule of law in exchanges with other actors such as the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (ISESCO) and the Research Centre for Islamic History, Art and Culture(IRCICA).

(123) An organisation such as the Council of Europe can also use the affinities and co-operation schemes that some of its member states have with particular parts of the globe. Transfrontier links, traditionally supported by the Council of Europe, have an important intercultural dimension.

(124) Internationally organised non-state actors like non-governmental organisations, foundations or religious communities play a key role in transnational intercultural dialogue – indeed, they may be innovators in the field. Such organisations have been working for a long time with the challenges of cultural diversity within their own ranks. They create network connections between communities that intergovernmental arrangements may not so easily secure.

(125) A role emerges here for individuals too. Those who are used to living and working in an intercultural context, particularly those from migrant backgrounds, can make multiple connections across state boundaries. They can act as vectors of development, stimulating innovation and the cross-fertilisation of ideas. They graphically embody the complexity and contextual character of identity and can be pioneers of intercultural dialogue.

5. Recommendations and policy orientations for future action: the shared responsibility of the core actors

(126) Strengthening intercultural dialogue in order to promote our common values of respect of human rights, democracy and the rule of law, and thus fostering greater European unity, is the shared responsibility of all stakeholders. The active involvement of all in the five policy areas identified in the preceding chapter will allow everyone to benefit from our rich cultural heritage and present-day environment. Based on its conception of cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue, based also on its longstanding experience, the Council of Europe can formulate the following general recommendations and guidelines, and develop policy orientations for its future action.

5.1 Democratic governance of cultural diversity

(127) For cultural diversity to thrive, its democratic governance has to be developed at each level. A number of general orientations, addressed primarily to national policy-makers and other public authorities, can be proposed in this context.

(128) Intercultural dialogue needs a neutral institutional and legal framework at national and local level, guaranteeing the human rights standards of the Council of Europe and based on the principles of democracy and the rule of law. There should in particular be clear legislation and policies against discrimination based on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or any other status, such as, inter alia, sexual orientation in accordance with the Court’s case-law27, or age or physical or mental disability in accordance with the explanatory report of Protocol No. 12 of the European Convention on Human Rights.28 ECRI has provided guidance in respect of national legislation to combat racism and racial discrimination.29 Relations between religion and the state should be organised in a way to ensure that everyone has equal rights and responsibilities regardless of his or her thought, conscience or religion so that, in practice, freedom of conscience and religion is fully respected.

(129) An inner coherence between the different policies that promote, or risk obstructing, intercultural dialogue should be ensured. One way to achieve this is by adopting a “joined-up” approach crossing conventional departmental boundaries in the form of an interdepartmental committee, a special ministry of integration or a unit in the office of the Prime Minister. Drawing up and implementing a “National Action Plan”, based on international human rights standards including those of the Council of Europe and reflecting the recommendations of this White Paper, can effectively contribute to the vision of an integrated society safeguarding the diversity of its members and set down objectives which can be translated into programmes and which are open to public monitoring. The Council of Europe is ready to assist the development of such National Action Plans and the evaluation of their implementation. Political leadership at the highest level is essential for success. Civil society, including minority and migrant associations, can play an important role. In order to promote integration, consultative bodies could be formed that involve representatives of the various partners concerned. National Action Plans should be inclusive of both recent migrants and long standing minority groups.

(130) The Council of Europe could commission a follow up initiative which could involve both research and conferences, to explore the wider concept of an intercultural approach to managing cultural diversity of which intercultural dialogue is a significant component. In particular this work could explore the linkages/synergy between an intercultural approach to managing diversity and integration policy. This could be followed up with a series of actions across the Council of Europe area to promote the concept of an Intercultural approach to managing cultural diversity including integration.

(131) Public authorities should be sensitive to the expectations of a culturally diverse population and ensure that the provision of public services respect the legitimate claims, and be able to reply to the wishes, of all groups in society. This requirement, flowing from the principles of non-discrimination and equality, is particularly important in policing, health, youth, education, culture and heritage, housing, social support, access to justice and the labour market. Involvement of representatives of persons belonging to minority and disadvantaged groups during the formulation of service-delivery policies and the preparation of decisions on the allocation of resources, as well as recruitment of individuals from these groups to the service workforce, are important steps.

(132) Public debate has to be marked by respect for cultural diversity. Public displays of racism, xenophobia or any other form of intolerance30 must be rejected and condemned, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights, irrespective of whether they originate with bearers of public office or in civil society. Every form of stigmatisation of persons belonging to minority and disadvantaged groups in public discourse needs to be ruled out. The media can make a positive contribution to the fight against intolerance, especially where they foster a culture of understanding between members of different ethnic, cultural, linguistic and religious communities. Media professionals should reflect on the problem of intolerance in the increasingly multicultural and multi-ethnic environment of the member states and on the measures which they might take to promote tolerance, mutual understanding and respect.

(133) States should have robust legislation to outlaw “hate speech” and racist, xenophobic, homophobic, antisemitic, islamophobic and antigypsy or other expressions, where this incites hatred or violence. Members of the criminal justice system should be well trained to implement and uphold such legislation. Independent national anti-discrimination bodies or similar structures should also be in place, to scrutinise the effectiveness of such legislation, conduct the relevant training and support victims of racist expression.

(134) A particular responsibility falls on the shoulders of political leaders. Their stances influence public views on intercultural issues, potentially tempering or exacerbating tensions. ECRI has addressed these dangers and their translation into practice, and formulated a number of practical measures that can be taken to counter the use of racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic political discourse.31 Municipal leaders can do much by the exercise of civic leadership to ensure intercommunal peace. ECRI also recommends that public financing be denied political parties that promote racism, particularly through “hate speech”.

(135) Public authorities are encouraged to take, where necessary, adequate positive action in support of the access of persons belonging to disadvantaged or underrepresented groups to positions of responsibility within professional life, associations, politics and local and regional authorities, paying due regard to required professional competences. The principle that, in certain circumstances, adequate measures to promote full and effective equality between persons belonging to national minorities and those belonging to the majority could be necessary, should be recognised by all member states, with the explicit proviso that such measures should not be considered as discrimination. The specific conditions of persons belonging to national minorities should be duly taken into account when such measures are taken.32


Facilitate access to the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights on intercultural dialogue

The Council of Europe will publish an in-depth review of judgments and decisions of the European Court of Human rights pertaining to the Convention’s articles dealing with issues relating to intercultural dialogue.

The Council of Europe will act to disseminate its legal standards and guidelines in new, attractive forms to target groups such as public authorities and decision-makers, leaders of civil-society organisations and the media, and the young generation. This will include wide-circulation material on the respect of human rights in a culturally diverse society, as well as manuals on “hate speech” and on the wearing of religious symbols in public areas, providing guidance in the light of the European Convention on Human Rights.

(137) The Steering Committee for Human Rights will pursue a range of issues concerning respect for human rights in a culturally diverse society; which may lead to the adoption of a Council of Europe policy text. It will also follow developments in the field of cultural rights.

The Council of Europe as a regular forum for intercultural dialogue
Through its programme of activities, the Council of Europe continues to contribute its expertise in the areas of human rights, democracy and the rule of law to the debate between member states, civil society and other stakeholders on intercultural dialogue, thus preparing action at international, national and local level.

More generally, there needs to be more dialogue about intercultural dialogue, if the roles of the Council of Europe outlined in this document are to be properly fulfilled. The Council of Europe’s programme of activities offers numerous possibilities for a sustained and intensified dialogue. Examples have been set by ministerial conferences, parliamentary debates, training seminars with youth organisations and expert colloquies such as the previous “Intercultural Fora” organised by the Council of Europe33, which have provided important insights – many feeding into this White Paper. Ways will be sought to organise further intercultural fora in the future.

(139) Another example is the planned conference with government experts and stakeholders from civil society, such as journalists and members of religious communities. Its aim is to tease out some of the difficult human-rights issues raised in culturally diverse societies, in particular regarding freedom of speech and of religion.

A Europe-wide campaign against discrimination

The Council of Europe, together with media professionals and journalism training institutions, is launching in 2008 a campaign against discrimination, bringing into focus the role of the media in a multicultural Europe.

A new Anti-Discrimination Campaign, building upon the “All Different – All Equal” youth campaigns but targeting the wider public, addresses all forms of discrimination and racism particularly anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and anti-Gypsyism.

(141) In the field of cultural policies, the Council of Europe will develop its systems for sharing information on cultural policies and standards and the documentation of examples of good practice, to encourage cultural policies facilitating access and encouraging participation by all. The “Compendium on cultural policies” will continue to be updated and developed.34 The Council of Europe will co-operate with other European and international institutions in gathering and analysing data, and making available information on intercultural dialogue in member states.

5.2 Democratic citizenship and participation

(142) Public authorities and all social forces are encouraged to develop the necessary framework of dialogue through educational initiatives and practical arrangements involving majorities and minorities. Democracy depends on the active involvement of the individual in public affairs. Exclusion of anyone from the life of the community cannot be justified and would indeed constitute a serious obstacle to intercultural dialogue.

(143) Sustainable forms of dialogue – e.g. the consultative bodies to represent foreign residents vis--vis public authorities and “local integration committees” as advocated by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities35 – can make significant contributions.

(144) No undue restriction must be placed on the exercise of human rights, including by non-citizens. Given the universal character of human rights, of which minority rights – inter alia cultural, linguistic and participatory rights – are an integral part, it is of utmost importance to ensure the full enjoyment of human rights by everyone. This consideration has been particularly emphasised by the Venice Commission.36

(145) Public authorities should encourage active participation in public life at local level by all those legally resident in their jurisdiction, including possibly the right to vote in local and regional elections on the basis of principles provided for by the Convention on the Participation of Foreigners in Public Life at Local Level. Insofar as democratic citizenship is limited by the status of a national citizen, public authorities should establish arrangements for the acquisition of legal citizenship which are in line with the principles enshrined in the European Convention on Nationality.

(146) Public authorities should support effectively the work of civil-society organisations promoting participation and democratic citizenship, particularly those representing or working with youth and with persons belonging to minorities including migrants. Democratic citizenship and participation is frequently exercised through civil-society organisations. These should be enabled to play their particularly important role in culturally diverse societies, be it as service providers attending to the needs of persons belonging to a specific group, as advocates of diversity and the rights of persons belonging to minorities, or as vehicles of social integration and cohesion. In the arena of intercultural dialogue, representatives of specific minority groups and intercultural associations are critical interlocutors.

(147) The development of a national integration plan, the design and delivery of projects and programmes, and their subsequent evaluation are tasks in which such associations should be actively involved. Participation of individuals from minority backgrounds in the activities of civil-society organisations should be systematically encouraged.

(148) Local government particularly is strongly encouraged to develop initiatives to strengthen civic involvement and a culture of democratic participation. Good practice here is a municipal integration or “foreigners” council, offering a mechanism for persons belonging to minorities and for migrants to engage with the local political leadership. The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities has provided detailed guidance on this.


Promoting “intercultural cities”

The Council of Europe will launch in 2008 a programme to assist cities to excel as spaces of intercultural dialogue, through peer review and the exchange of good practice on governance, media, mediation and cultural policy.

) The Council of Europe is committed to strengthening democratic citizenship and participation through many of its programmes, among them “Intercultural Cities”, a capacity-building and policy-development field programme. Participating cities will work towards intercultural strategies for the management of diversity as a resource. The programme will be developed in co-operation with a range of intergovernmental and non-governmental partners.

(150) Cultural diversity in urban areas will be a further priority theme. Successful cities of the future will be intercultural. They will be capable of managing and exploring the potential of their cultural diversity, to stimulate creativity and innovation and thus to generate economic prosperity, community cohesion and a better quality of life.

5.3 Learning and teaching intercultural competences

(151) The learning and teaching of intercultural competence is essential for democratic culture and social cohesion. Providing an quality education for all, aimed at inclusion, promotes active involvement and civic commitment and prevents educational disadvantage. This policy approach can be translated into a number of basic recommendations and guidelines, addressed to public authorities and institutions of formal education, but also to civil society – including minority and youth organisations – as well as the media, social and cultural partners and religious communities engaged in non-formal or informal education.

(152) Public authorities, civil-society organisations and other education providers should make the development of intercultural dialogue and inclusive education an important element at all levels. Intercultural competences should be a part of citizenship and human-rights education. Competent public authorities and education institutions should make full use of descriptors of key competences for intercultural communication in designing and implementing curricula and study programmes at all levels of education, including teacher training and adult education programmes. Complementary tools should be developed to encourage students to exercise independent critical faculties including to reflect critically on their own responses and attitudes to experiences of other cultures. All students should be given the opportunity to develop their plurilingual competence. Intercultural learning and practice need to be introduced in the initial and in-service training of teachers. School and family-based exchanges should be made a regular feature of the secondary curriculum.

(153) Human rights education, learning for active citizenship and intercultural dialogue can greatly benefit from a wealth of existing support material, including “Compass” and “Compasito”, two manuals on human rights education with young people and for children provided by the Council of Europe.

(154) Educational establishments and all other stakeholders engaged in educational activities are invited to ensure that the learning and teaching of history follow the recommendations of the Committee of Ministers on history teaching and focus not only on the history of one’s own country, but include learning the history of other countries and cultures, as well as how others have looked at our own society (multiperspectivity), at the same time being attentive to the respect of the fundamental values of the Council of Europe and include the dimension of human rights education.37

(155) Knowledge of the past is essential to understand society as it is today and to prevent a repeat of history’s tragic events. In this respect, competent public authorities and education institutions are strongly encouraged to prepare and observe an annual “Day of Remembrance of the Holocaust and for the Prevention of Crimes against Humanity”, on a date chosen in the light of each country’s history. Such an event can draw on the Council of Europe’s project on “Teaching remembrance – Education for prevention of crimes against humanity”, which was designed to help school pupils to find out about and understand the events that darkened European and world history and to recognise the uniqueness of the Shoah as the first deliberate attempt to exterminate a people on a global scale; to raise awareness of all of the genocides and crimes against humanity that marked the 20th century; to educate pupils about how to prevent crimes against humanity; and to foster understanding, tolerance and friendship between nations, ethnic groups and religious communities, while remaining faithful to the Council of Europe’s fundamental principles.

(156) An appreciation of our diverse cultural background should include knowledge and understanding of the major world religions and non-religious convictions and their role in society. Another important aim is to instil in young people an appreciation of the social and cultural diversity of Europe, encompassing its recent immigrant communities as well as those whose European roots extend through centuries.

(157) Appreciation of different expressions of creativity, including artefacts, symbols, texts, objects, dress and food should be incorporated into learning about one another. Music, art and dance can be powerful tools for intercultural education.

(158) Competent public authorities are also invited to take into account the effects of regulations and policies – such as visa requirements or work and residence permits for academic staff, students, artists and performers – on educational and cultural exchanges. Appropriately designed regulations and policies can greatly support intercultural dialogue.


The Council of Europe aims to remain the reference institution on the teaching and learning of intercultural competences and will continue to give importance to these themes

In co-operation with competent public authorities, education providers and experts, the Council of Europe will continue its innovative work on the definition, development, dissemination and transmission of intercultural competences, and undertake related initiatives in the field of language policies.

The Council of Europe itself is strongly committed to the transmission of intercultural competences through education. As regards formal education, the Council of Europe will develop a framework of reference describing competences for intercultural communication and intercultural literacy and will compile a “Guide to Good Practice” at all levels. The Organisation will work to make the promotion of democratic culture and intercultural dialogue a component of the European Higher Education Area after 2010. The European Resource Centre on education for democratic citizenship and intercultural education, which is being set up in Oslo, will strongly focus on transmitting intercultural competences to educators.

(160) The Council of Europe will continue to develop instruments to strengthen intercultural dialogue through approaches to history teaching based on objectivity, critical analysis and multiperspectivity, mutual respect and tolerance and the core values of the Council of Europe. It will support every effort in the educational sphere to prevent recurrence or denial of the Holocaust, genocides and other crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing and massive violations of human rights and of the fundamental values to which the Council of Europe is particularly committed. The Council of Europe will also continue and consider extending the project “Teaching remembrance – Education for prevention of crimes against humanity”.

(161) As regards language policies for intercultural dialogue, the Council of Europe will provide assistance and recommendations to competent authorities in reviewing their education policies for all languages in the education system. It will also produce consultative guidelines and tools for describing common European standards of language competence.

The current project “The image of the Other in history teaching” will be continued and developed
The Council of Europe will continue the project and consider broadening its scope particularly through co-operation with UNESCO,
ALECSO and the Research Centre for Islamic History, Art and Culture (IRCICA).

Other initiatives will be taken in the areas of art teaching and the teaching of religious and convictional facts, as part of a programme to promote intercultural education and dialogue through developing common references for the management of culturally diverse classrooms as well as support for the integration of intercultural education in educational programmes.

(163) In terms of non-formal and informal education, the Council of Europe will pursue its efforts to support the activities of civil-society organisations – particularly youth organisations – aimed at responding to cultural diversity in a positive and creative way. The training courses for multipliers on European citizenship and human-rights education activities, conducted in the framework of the “Youth Partnership” with the European Commission, will be expanded. New opportunities for training in intercultural competences will be offered particularly to civil-society organisations, religious communities and journalists. The Council of Europe will continue its work on media literacy.

(164) These activities will be complemented by initiatives in the areas of cultural and heritage policies, aiming at broadening intercultural understanding and providing wider access to the cultural heritage which has an important role to play in intercultural dialogue. In this respect, accent will be put on knowledge and respect of cultural heritage of the other, through appropriate programmes, as a source of diversity and cultural enrichment.

5.4 Spaces for intercultural dialogue

(165) Creating spaces for intercultural dialogue is a collective task. Without appropriate, accessible and attractive spaces, intercultural dialogue will just not happen, let alone prosper. In this regard, the Council of Europe can again make a number of recommendations.

(166) Public authorities and all social actors are invited to develop intercultural dialogue in the spaces of everyday life and in the framework of the respect of fundamental freedoms. There are an unlimited number of possibilities for creating such spaces.

(167) Public authorities are responsible for organising civic life and urban space in such a way that opportunities for dialogue based on freedom of expression and the principles of democracy proliferate. Physical places and the built environment are a strategic element of social life. Particular attention needs to be given to the design and management of public spaces, like parks, civic squares, airports and train stations. Urban planners are encouraged to create “open towns” with sufficient public space for encounters. Such spaces, ideally constructed with an open mind – planned for a variety of uses, that is – can help generate a shared civic sense of place and an intercultural commitment.

(168) Civil-society organisations in particular, including religious communities, are invited to provide the organisational framework for intercultural and interreligious encounters. The private sector and the social partners should ensure that the cultural diversity of the workforce does not generate conflicts, but leads to creative synergies and complementarity.

(169) Journalism, promoted in a responsible manner through codes of ethics as advanced by the media industry itself and a culture-sensitive training of journalists, can help provide fora for intercultural dialogue. In order to reflect society’s diverse composition in their internal structure, media organisations are invited to adopt a voluntary policy, underpinned by appropriate training schemes, of promoting members of disadvantaged groups and under-represented minorities at all levels of production and management, paying due regard to required professional competences.

(170) The Council of Europe sees this as an important realisation of freedom of expression and as the responsibility not only of public broadcasters. All media should examine how they can promote minority voices, intercultural dialogue and mutual respect.

(171) Public authorities and non-state actors are encouraged to promote culture, the arts and heritage, which provide particularly important spaces for dialogue. The cultural heritage, “classical” cultural activities, “cultural routes”, contemporary art forms, popular and street culture, the culture transmitted by the media and the internet naturally cross borders and connect cultures. Art and culture create a space of expression beyond institutions, at the level of the person, and can act as mediators. Wide participation in cultural and artistic activities should be encouraged by all stakeholders. Cultural activities can play a key role in transforming a territory into a shared public space.


(172) Through the “2008 Exchange on the religious dimension of intercultural dialogue” organised on 8 April 2008 on an experimental basis, the Council of Europe has given representatives of religious communities and of other actors of civil society, as well as the experts present, an opportunity for an in-depth discussion of the principles governing education policy in teaching religious and convictional facts, as well as the practical details of organising such teaching. The Exchange also helped identifying, on these issues, approaches and ideas which the participants can apply in their own fields of activity, as well as a number of recommendations for the Council of Europe’s targeted activities. Any further possible follow-up action to the “2008 Exchange” will be discussed in the framework of the assessment of the exercise to be undertaken in the course of 2008.

Council of Europe Media Award for Intercultural Dialogue

The Council of Europe intends to recognise by an annual award media which have made an outstanding contribution to conflict prevention or resolution, understanding and dialogue. It also intends to set up a web-based information network on the contribution of the media to intercultural dialogue.

The Council of Europe will pursue flagship initiatives vis--vis the media. Apart from a media award for contributions to intercultural dialogue, the Organisation – following consultations with other international institutions and in co-operation with appropriate partners – intends to build up an informal, mainly web-based network of relevant professionals and organisations, dealing with the rights, responsibilities and working conditions of journalists in times of crisis.

5.5 Intercultural dialogue in international relations

(174) Local and regional authorities should consider engaging in co-operation with partner institutions in other parts of Europe. Action at this level is an essential component of good neighbourliness between states and therefore an excellent frame for the development of intercultural relations. Local and regional authorities can organise regular and institutionalised consultations with the territorial communities or authorities of neighbouring states on matters of common interest, jointly determine solutions, identify legal and practical obstacles to transfrontier and interterritorial co-operation and take appropriate remedial action. They can develop training, including language training, for those involved locally in such co-operation.

(175) Civil-society organisations and education providers can contribute to intercultural dialogue in Europe and internationally, for example through participation in European non-governmental structures, cross-border partnerships and exchange schemes, particularly for young people. It is the responsibility of international institutions like the Council of Europe to support civil society and education providers in this task.

(176) The media are encouraged to develop arrangements for sharing and co-producing – at the regional, national or European level – programme material which has proven its value in mobilising public opinion against intolerance and improving community relations.


(177) The Council of Europe will promote and expand co-operation with other organisations active in intercultural dialogue, including UNESCO and the “Alliance of Civilizations” initiative, the OSCE, the EU and the Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for the Dialogue between Cultures, as well as other regional organisations, such as the League of Arab States and its educational, cultural and scientific organisation, ALECSO, representing a region with many ties to Europe and a distinct cultural tradition. The Council of Europe will also promote intercultural dialogue on the basis of its standards and values when cooperating in the context of specific projects with institutions such as the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) and the Research Center for Islamic History, Art and Culture (IRCICA). The regional focus of this co-operation will be the interaction between Europe and its neighbouring regions, specifically the southern shores of the Mediterranean, the Middle East and Central Asia.

Enlarging and invigorating the “Faro Open Platform
The Council of Europe will, in consultation with UNESCO, develop the potential of the “Faro Open Platform” for the international
co-ordination of action on intercultural dialogue.

In forthcoming months, the Council of Europe will take new initiatives to bring about a closer co-operation among these and new partners. One of the instruments is the “Faro Open Platform”, which the Council of Europe established with UNESCO in 2005 to promote inter-institutional co-operation in intercultural dialogue.

(179) Other priority activities in this context include the following:

(180) The EU has designated 2008 as the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue. The “White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue” and the experimental “2008 Exchange on the religious dimension of intercultural dialogue” constitute two important Council of Europe contributions to the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue.38 The Council of Europe is making specific contributions to the programme of activities and to a dynamic debate about long-term policy perspectives, also through other activities, such as, for example through the 2008 Anti-Discrimination Campaign, the “Intercultural Cities”, the publication of case-law of the European Court of Human Rights on intercultural dialogue issues and the European Resource Centre on education for democratic citizenship and intercultural education (Oslo).

(181) The Council of Europe recognises the contribution of the “North-South Centre” and its essential role. It brings together not only governments but also parliamentarians, local and regional authorities and civil society. Its programme priorities are global education, youth, human rights, democratic governance and intercultural dialogue. The Centre adds an important dimension to the international efforts aimed at the promotion of intercultural learning, understanding and political dialogue within and between the different continents

(182) “Artists for Dialogue” is the title of a new cultural and heritage programme that will be launched in 2008 to enhance intercultural dialogue among artists and cultural actors, taking in the Mediterranean region.

(183) The Venice Commission will continue its co-operation with constitutional courts and equivalent bodies in Africa, Asia and the Americas as well as with Arab countries. It provides a good example of intercultural dialogue based on practical action and the principles of the constitutional heritage.

(184) The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities is set to continue its work with partners in the Mediterranean region, particularly in the framework of Israel-Palestine collaboration and co-operation with Arab cities on issues such as good governance at local level and questions related to migration.

6. The way ahead

This White Paper seeks to set a clear course for intercultural dialogue, but it cannot provide a detailed roadmap. It is one step on a longer road. Its conclusions and recommendations need to be monitored, and adapted if necessary, in dialogue with the other stakeholders. The guidelines and practical orientations defined here should be appropriately followed up and evaluated.

(186) The Council of Europe invites all other stakeholders to continue what has sometimes been described as the “White Paper process”, which has brought the Council of Europe into contact with countless partners, ranging from international institutions to grass-roots activists. All our partners are encouraged to continue advising the organisation on the course to steer, to suggest programmes and projects, and to alert us to developments that may place intercultural dialogue at risk.

(187) Intercultural dialogue is critical to the construction of a new social and cultural model for a fast-changing Europe, allowing everyone living within our culturally diverse societies to enjoy human rights and fundamental freedoms. This emerging model is a work in progress and a work of many hands. It involves wide responsibilities for public authorities at all levels, for civil-society associations and all other stakeholders.

(188) The Council of Europe presents this White Paper as a contribution to an international discussion steadily gaining momentum. The task of living together amid growing cultural diversity while respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms has become one of the major demands of our times and is set to remain relevant for many years to come.

Strasbourg, May 2008


Appendix 1

Selected conventions, declarations, recommendations and other reference texts of the Council of Europe relevant to intercultural dialogue39

Selected European conventions

(Date of opening of the treaty; status of ratifications, accessions and signatures as of April 2008)


Signatures not followed by ratifications

Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (1950)



European Cultural Convention (1954)



European Convention on the Legal Status of Migrant Workers (1977)



European Outline Convention on Transfrontier Co-operation between Territorial Communities or Authorities (1980)



European Charter of Local Self-Government (1985)



European Convention on Transfrontier Television (1989)



European Code of Social Security (Revised) (1990)



Convention on the Participation of Foreigners in Public Life at Local Level (1992)



European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (1992)



Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (1995)



European Social Charter (1961) and European Social Charter revised (1996)



Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education in the European Region (1997)



European Convention on Nationality (1997)



European Convention on the Promotion of a Transnational Long-Term Voluntary Service for Young People (2000)



Convention on Cybercrime (2001)



Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism (2005)



Council of Europe Framework Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society (2005)



Declarations of Summits, Ministerial Conferences and the Committee of Ministers

Declaration regarding intolerance – A threat to democracy”, adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 14 May 1981
Declaration on Equality of Women and Men”, adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 16 November 1988
“Declaration on the multicultural society and European cultural identity”, adopted by the European Ministers responsible for cultural affairs at their 6th conference, Palermo/Italy April 1990
Vienna Declaration”, adopted at the [First] Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe, Vienna, October 1993
Final Declaration” and “Action Plan” of the Second Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe, Strasbourg, November 1997
Resolution No.1 on the European Language Portfolio adopted at the 19th Session of the Standing Conference of Ministers of Education, Kristiansand/Norway, 22-24 June 1997
Budapest Declaration” (“For a Greater Europe without Dividing Lines”), adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 7 May 1999
Resolution No.2 on the European Language Portfolio adopted at the 20th Session of the Standing Conference of European Ministers of Education, Cracow/Poland, 15-17 October 2000
Declaration on cultural diversity”, adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 7 December 2000
Helsinki Declaration”, adopted by the 7th Conference of Ministers responsible for migration affairs, Helsinki, September 2002
Declaration on intercultural dialogue and conflict prevention”, adopted by the Conference of European Ministers responsible for cultural affairs, Opatija/Croatia, October 2003
Resolution Res(2003)7 on the youth policy of the Council of Europe, adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 29 October 2003
Declaration on intercultural education in the new European context”, adopted by the Conference of European ministers of education, Athens, November 2003
Resolution on “The roles of women and men in conflict prevention, peace building and post-conflict democratic processes – a gender perspective” adopted by the 5th Ministerial Conference on Equality between Women and Men, Skopje, 22-23 January 2003
Revised Strategy for Social Cohesion, adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 31 March 2004
Wroclaw Declaration”, adopted by the European Ministers responsible for culture, education, youth and sport, Wroclaw/Poland, December 2004
Warsaw Declaration” and “Action Plan”, adopted by the Third Summit of Heads of State and Government, Warsaw, May 2005
Final Declaration adopted by the European Ministers responsible for youth on “Human dignity and social cohesion: youth policy responses to violence”, Budapest, September 2005
Faro Declaration on the Council of Europe’s strategy for developing intercultural dialogue”, adopted by the Conference of European Ministers responsible for cultural affairs, Faro/Portugal, October 2005
Declaration of the Committee of Ministers on the occasion of the 1000th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies, “One Europe – Our Europe”, Belgrade, June 2007
Final Declaration of the Standing Conference of European Ministers of Education on “Building a more humane and inclusive Europe: role of education policies”, Istanbul, 4-5 May 2007
Valencia Declaration”, adopted by the Conference of Ministers responsible for local and regional government, Valencia/Spain, October 2007
Informal Regional Conference of Ministers Responsible for Cultural Affairs on "The Promotion of Intercultural Dialogue and the White Paper of the Council of Europe", Belgrade, November 2007
Strategy for innovation and good governance at local level”, adopted by the Committee of Ministers in March 2008

Recommendations of the Committee of Ministers

R (81)18 concerning participation at municipal level
R (82)9 on European Schools Day
R (82)18 concerning Modern Languages
R (83)1 on stateless nomads and nomads of undetermined nationality
R (84)7 on the maintenance of migrants' cultural links with their countries of origin and leisure facilities
R (84)9 on second-generation migrants
R (84)13 concerning the situation of foreign students
R (84)17 on equality between women and men in the media
R (84)18 on the training of teachers in education for intercultural understanding, notably in a context of migration
R (84)21 on the acquisition by refugees of the nationality of the host country
R (85)2 on legal protection against sex discrimination
R (85)7 on teaching and learning about human rights in schools
R (85) 21 on mobility of academic staff
R (86)8 on the exercise in the state of residence by nationals of other member States of the right to vote in the elections of the state of origin
R (86)17 on concerted cultural action abroad
R (88)6 on social reactions to juvenile delinquency among young people coming from migrant families
R (88)14 on migrants' housing
R (90)4 on the elimination of sexism from language
R (90)22 on the protection of mental health of certain vulnerable groups in society
R (92)12 on community relations
R (92)10 on the implementation of rights of persons belonging to national minorities
R (92)11 on social and vocational integration of young people
R (92)19 on video games with a racist content
R (95) 7 on the brain drain in the sectors of higher education and research
R (95) 8 on academic mobility
R (97) 3 on youth participation and the future of civil society
R (97) 7 on local public services and the rights of their users
R (97) 20 on “hate speech”
R (97) 21 on the media and the promotion of a culture of tolerance
R (98) 3 on access to higher education
R (98) 6 concerning modern languages
R (99) 1 on measures to promote media pluralism
R (99) 2 on secondary education
R (99) 9 on the role of sport in furthering social cohesion
R (2000) 1 on fostering transfrontier co-operation between territorial communities or authorities in the cultural field
R (2000) 4 on the education of Roma/Gypsy children in Europe
R (2000) 5 on the development of structures for citizen and patient participation in the decision-making process affecting health care
Rec(2001)6 on the prevention of racism, xenophobia and racial intolerance in sport
Rec(2001)10 on the European Code of Police Ethics
Rec(2001)15 on history teaching in twenty-first-century Europe
Rec(2001)17 on improving the economic and employment situation of Roma/Gypsies and Travellers in Europe
Rec(2001)19 on the participation of citizens in local public life
Rec(2002)4 on the legal status of persons admitted for family reunification
Rec(2002)5 on the protection of women against violence
Rec (2002)12 on education for democratic citizenship
European Charter on the Participation of Young People in Local and Regional Life (2003, revised)
Rec(2003)2 on neighbourhood services in disadvantaged urban areas
Rec(2003)3 on balanced participation of women and men in political and public decision making
Rec(2003)6 on improving physical education and sport for children and young people in all European countries
Rec(2003)8 on the promotion and recognition of non-formal education/learning of young people
Rec(2003)9 on measures to promote the democratic and social contribution of digital broadcasting
Rec(2004)2 on the access of non-nationals to employment in the public sector
Rec(2004)4 on the European Convention on Human Rights in university education and professional training
Rec(2004)13 on the participation of young people in local and regional life
Rec(2004)14 on the movement and encampment of Travellers in Europe
Rec(2005)2 on good practices in and reducing obstacles to transfrontier and interterritorial cooperation between territorial communities or authorities
Rec(2005)3 on teaching neighbouring languages in border regions
Rec(2005)4 on improving the housing conditions of Roma and Travellers in Europe
Rec(2005)8 on the principles of good governance in sport
Rec(2006)1 on the role of national youth councils in youth policy development
Rec(2006)2 on the European Prison Rules
Rec(2006)3 on the UNESCO Convention on the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions
Rec(2006)5 on the Council of Europe Action Plan to promote the rights and full participation of people with disabilities in society: improving the quality of life of people with disabilities in Europe 2006-2015
Rec(2001)6 on the prevention of racism, xenophobia and racial intolerance in sport Rec(2006)9 on the admission, rights and obligations of migrant students and co-operation with countries of origin
Rec(2006)10 on better access to health care for Roma and Travellers in Europe
Rec(2006)12 on empowering children in the new information and communications environment
Rec(2006)14 on citizenship and participation of young people in public life
Rec(2006)17 on hospitals in transition: a new balance between institutional and community care
Rec(2006)18 on health services in a multicultural society
CM/Rec(2007)2 on media pluralism and diversity of media content
CM/Rec(2007)3 on the remit of public service media in the information society
CM/Rec(2007)4 on local and regional public services
CM/Rec(2007)6 on the public responsibility for higher education and research
CM/Rec(2007)7 on good administration
CM/Rec(2007)9 on life projects for unaccompanied migrant minors
CM/Rec(2007)10 on co-development and migrants working for development in their countries of origin
CM/Rec(2007)11 on promoting freedom of expression and information in the new information and communications environment
CM/Rec(2007)13 on gender mainstreaming in education
CM/Rec(2007)17 on gender equality standards and mechanisms
CM/Rec(2008)4 on strengthening the integration of children of migrants and of immigrant background
CM/Rec(2008)5 on policies for Roma and/or Travellers in Europe
CM/Rec(2008)6 on measures to promote the respect for freedom of expression and information with regard to Internet filters

Recommendations and resolutions of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe

Resolution 807 (1983) on European co-operation in education
Resolution 885 (1987) on the Jewish contribution to European culture
Recommendation 1093 (1989) on education of migrants’ children
Recommendation 1111 (1989) on the European dimension in education
Recommendation 1162 (1991) on the contribution of the Islamic civilisation to European culture
Recommendation 1202 (1992) on religious tolerance in a democratic society
Recommendation 1178 (1992) on sects and new religious movements
Recommendation 1281 (1995) on gender equality in education
Recommendation 1283 (1996) on history and the learning of history in Europe
Recommendation 1291 (1996) on Yiddish culture
Recommendation 1353 (1998) on access of minorities to higher education
Recommendation 1383 (1998) on linguistic diversification
Recommendation 1396 (1999) on religion and democracy
Recommendation 1412 (1999) on illegal activities of sects
Recommendation 1539 (2001) on the European Year of Languages
Resolution 1278 (2002) on Russia's law on religion
Resolution 1309 (2002) on freedom of religion and religious minorities in France
Recommendation 1556 (2002) on religion and change in Central and Eastern Europe
Recommendation 1598 (2003) on the protection of sign languages in the member states of the Council of Europe
Recommendation 1620 (2003) on Council of Europe contribution to the European Higher Education Area
Recommendation 1652 (2004) on education of refugees and internally displaced persons
Recommendation 1688 (2004) on diaspora cultures
Resolution 1437 (2005) on migration and integration: a challenge and an opportunity for Europe (2005)
Recommendation 1687 (2005) on combating terrorism through culture
Recommendation 1693 (2005) on the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe contribution to the 3rd Summit of Heads of State and Government
Recommendation 1720 (2005) on education and religion
Resolution 1464 (2005) on women and religion in Europe
Resolution 1510 (2006) on freedom of expression and respect for religious beliefs
Recommendation 1753 (2006) on external relations of the Council of Europe
Recommendation 1762 (2006) on academic freedom and university autonomy
Recommendation 1804 (2007) on state, religion, secularity and human rights
Resolution 1563 (2007) on combating antisemitism in Europe
Recommendation 1805 (2007) on blasphemy, religious insults and hate speech against persons on grounds of their religion
Recommendation 1605 (2008) and Resolution 1831 (2008) on European Muslim communities confronted with extremism

Recommendations, resolutions and declarations of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities

Resolution 236 on a new municipal policy for multicultural integration in Europe and the “Frankfurt Declaration” (1992)
Recommendation 128 on the Revised European Charter on the participation of young people in local and regional life (2003)
Declaration “Foreigners’ integration and participation in European cities”, Stuttgart/Germany, 15-16 September 2003
Recommendation 165 on the fight against trafficking in human beings and their sexual exploitation: the role of cities and regions (2005)
Recommendation 170 on Intercultural and inter-faith dialogue: initiatives and responsibilities of local authorities (2005)
Recommendation 173 on regional media and transfrontier co-operation (2005)
Recommendation 177 on cultural identity in peripheral urban areas: the role of local and regional authorities (2005)
Recommendation 194 (2006) on effective access to social rights for immigrants: the role of local and regional authorities (2006)
Recommendation 197 on urban security in Europe (2006)
Recommendation 207 on the development of social cohesion indicators – the concerted local and regional approach (2007)
Recommendation 209 on intergenerational co-operation and participatory democracy (2007)
Recommendation 211 on Freedom of Assembly and expressions for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender persons (2007)
Recommendation 221 on the institutional framework of inter-municipal co-operation (2007)
Recommendation 222 on language education in regional or minority languages (2007)
Resolution 250 on integration through sport (2008)

Recommendations and declarations of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI)

N 1: Combating racism, xenophobia, antisemitism and intolerance (1996)
N 2: Specialised bodies to combat racism, xenophobia, antisemitism and intolerance at national level (1997)
N 3: Combating racism and intolerance against Roma/Gypsies (1998)
N 4: National surveys on the experience and perception of discrimination and racism from the point of view of potential victims (1998)
N 5: Combating intolerance and discrimination against Muslims (2000)
N 6: Combating the dissemination of racist, xenophobic and antisemitic material via the Internet (2000)
N 7: National legislation to combat racism and racial discrimination (2002)
N 8: Combating racism while fighting terrorism (2004)
N 9: The fight against antisemitism (2004)
Declaration on the use of racist, antisemitic and xenophobic elements in political discourse (2005)
N10: Combating racism and racial discrimination in and through school education (2007)
N11: Combating racism and racial discrimination in policing (2007)

Appendix 2

List of abbreviations

ALECSO Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization
Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
European Commission against Racism and Intolerance
Fundamental Rights Agency
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
(International) Non-governmental organisation
Research Centre for Islamic History, Art and Culture
Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights
Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe
Union of European Football Associations
Venice Commission European Commission for Democracy through Law


1 This document has been classified restricted at the date of issue. It will be declassified at the 118th Session of the Committee of Ministers (7 May 2008).
2 The online version of the White Paper on www.coe.int/dialogue will contain hyperlinks to all documents mentioned in this text.
3 Strasbourg, Stockholm and Moscow (September-October 2007).
4 Belgrade, 8-9 November 2007.
5 Programme of Action adopted by the World Summit for Social Development in 1995.
6 On the importance of pluralism, tolerance and broadmindedness in democratic societies, see for instance Handyside v. the United Kingdom, judgment of 7 December 1976, Series A no. 24, 49.
7 Gorzelik and Others v. Poland [GC], no. 44158/98, 17 February 2004.
8 See Appendix - Table on state of ratification of key conventional instruments.
9 References to selected recommendations of the Parliamentary Assembly can be found in the Appendix.
10 On female genital mutilation, see Collins and Akaziebie v. Sweden, n23944/05 decision of 8 March 2007.
11 See for instance Kurtulmuş v. Turkey, No. 65500/01, decision of 24 January 2006; Leyla Şahin v. Turkey, judgment of 10 November 2005 (Grand Chamber); Dahlab v. Switzerland, decision of 15 February 2001.
12 See for instance Leyla Şahin v. Turkey [GC], No. 44774/98, judgment of 10 November 2005, 107.
13 Final document of the International Conference ‘Dialogue of Cultures and Inter-Faith Cooperation’ (Volga Forum), Nizhniy Novgorod/Russian Federation, 7-9 September 2006 (available at www.coe.int/dialogue).
14 Final Declaration of the European Conference on ‘The religious dimension of intercultural dialogue’, San Marino, 23 and 24 April 2007 (available at www.coe.int/dialogue).
15 The collection of examples of good practice proposed during the consultations will be published on the internet at www.coe.int/dialogue.
16 Cf. Leyla Şahin v. Turkey [GC], No. 44774/98, judgment of 10 November 2005, 108. See also Article 6 of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, which obliges the contracting parties to ‘encourage a spirit of tolerance and intercultural dialogue and take effective measures to promote mutual respect and understanding and co-operation among all persons living on their territory, irrespective of those persons' ethnic, cultural, linguistic or religious identity, in particular in the fields of education, culture and the media.’
17 The European Committee of Social Rights, whose task it is to examine the national reports and to decide whether or not the situations in the countries concerned are in conformity with the European Social Charter, has repeatedly asked for a specific attention to the situation of foreign workers, immigrants and national minorities. Cf. European Social Charter. European Committee of Social Rights: Conclusions XVIII-1, Volume 1. Strasbourg 2006, pp. 59, 102, 212, 261, 293.
18 Handyside v. United Kingdom, judgment of 7 December 1976, Series A no. 24, 49.
19 D.H. and others v. The Czech Republic, judgment of 13 November 2007 (Grand Chamber): ‘The Court has also accepted that a general policy or measure that has disproportionately prejudicial effects on a particular group may be considered discriminatory notwithstanding that it is not specifically aimed at that group… and that discrimination potentially contrary to the Convention may result from a de facto situation’ ( 175).
20 Cf. Framework Convention on the Protection of National Minorities (1995), Article 4 2 and 3, as well as the accompanying paragraphs in the explanatory report. D.H. and others v. The Czech Republic, judgment of 13 November 2007 (Grand Chamber). The European Committee of Social Rights has argued that ‘human difference in a democratic society should not only be viewed
positively but should be responded to with discernment in order to ensure real and effective equality’ (Autism France v. France, Complaint No. 13/2002, decision on the merits 4 November 2003, 52).
21 Cf. Framework Convention on the Protection of National Minorities (1995), Article 15.
22 Recommendation Rec(2001)15
23 The Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities underlined in a recent ‘Commentary on Education under the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities’ (adopted in March 2006) that the provisions on education were to be kept in mind “in all planning and action in the area of intercultural education, which has the ambition to facilitate mutual understanding, contacts and interaction among different groups living within a society.”
24 Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1720 on education and religion (2005); Kjeldsen, Busk Madsen and Pedersen v. Denmark, 5095/71; 5920/72; 5926/72, 7 December 1976, 53; Folger and Others v. Norway [GC], no. 15472/02, 29 June 2007, 84; ECRI General Policy Recommendation N10 on combating racism and racial discrimination in and through school education, 2006, II.2.b.
25 Final Declaration of the 22nd session of the Standing Conference of European Ministers of Education, Istanbul, Turkey, 4-5 May 2007 (“Building a more humane and inclusive Europe: role of education policies”).
26 On 15 January 2008, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe and the High Representative of the United Nations for the Alliance of Civilizations signed a Letter of Intent pertaining to future co-operation and the development of a Memorandum of Understanding.
27 See in particular the judgments Smith and Grady v/United Kingdom – 29/09/1999 90 ; S.L. v/Austria – 09/01/2003 37 ; Karner v/Austria – 24/07/2003 37.
28 See Explanatory report to Protocol No. 12 of the European Convention on Human Rights, 20.
29 ECRI General Policy Recommendation N7 on national legislation to combat racism and racial discrimination, 2002.
30 The Third Summit of the Council of Europe in 2005 strongly condemned ‘all forms of intolerance and discrimination, in particular those based on sex, race and religion, including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia’. The Committee of Ministers has also frequently recognised that Roma/Gypsies and Travellers have been experiencing widespread discrimination in all areas of life. Furthermore, ECRI recommended that the law should penalise “the public denial, trivialisation, justification or condoning, with a racist aim, of crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes” when committed intentionally (General Policy Recommendation No. 7 on national legislation to combat racism and racial discrimination, 2002). ECRI further underlined the need to combat prejudice suffered by Muslim communities and recommended to impose appropriate sanctions in cases of discrimination on grounds of religion (General policy recommendation n 5 on combating intolerance and discrimination against Muslims).
31 ‘Declaration on the use of racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic elements in political discourse (March 2005)’.
32 Article 4 2 and 3 of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.
33 Sarajevo in 2003, Troina in 2004 and Bucharest in 2006.
34 The “Compendium” has specific entries under cultural diversity policy and intercultural dialogue, and more broadly provides a Europe-wide resource for benchmarking and innovation on the part of governmental and non-governmental actors alike. www.culturalpolicies.net.
35 Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, Local Consultative Bodies for Foreign Residents: Handbook (Strasbourg: CLRAE, 2003)
36 European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission), Report on non-citizens and minority rights, CDL-AD(2007)001, ad 144.
37 The Recommendation (2001)15 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on history teaching in twenty-first century Europe underlines, inter alia, that ‘History teaching must not be an instrument of ideological manipulation, of propaganda or used for the promotion of intolerant and ultra-nationalistic, xenophobic, racist or anti-Semitic ideas. Historical research and history as it is taught in schools cannot in any way, with any intention, be compatible with the fundamental values and statutes of the Council of Europe if it allows or promotes misuses of history, namely through:
– falsification or creation of false evidence, doctored statistics, faked images, etc.;
– fixation on one event to justify or conceal another;
– distortion of the past for the purposes of propaganda;
– an excessively nationalistic version of the past which may create the “us” and “them” dichotomy;
– abuse of the historical record;
– denial of historical fact;
– omission of historical fact.’ (Appendix, Section 2 on the ‘misuse of history’).
38 These initiatives also come as two concrete examples for the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding concluded between the European Union and the Council of Europe, in the field of intercultural dialogue and cultural diversity.
39 Note. Declarations, Recommendations and Resolutions adopted after 1980 are listed in chronological order. All texts are accessible on the web site of the Council of Europe at www.coe.int.