European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI)

Declaration adopted by the European Commission against Racism
and Intolerance (ECRI) at its 19th plenary meeting

(Strasbourg, 15-18 June 1999)

ECRI’s 19th plenary meeting is taking place at a time when current events in Europe provide a tragic illustration of the consequences that a rise in racism and intolerance may have for all the populations of a region, regardless of their national or ethnic origin or religious beliefs.

ECRI is unanimous in expressing its profound distress at the recent dramatic events related to the Kosovo crisis.

ECRI deplores the fact that hundreds of thousands of Kosovars have been forced to leave their homes. It firmly condemns any form of ethnic cleansing and expects that those responsible will be brought before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague. ECRI also urges all countries and relevant international organisations to assist in the return of refugees to their homes, the reconstruction of the countries most affected by the crisis and the re-establishment of democratic security in the region.

ECRI wishes to contribute, within its own field of competence, to the wider efforts being carried out by the Council of Europe in the region, especially in the context of the latter’s participation in the Stability Programme for South-East Europe. ECRI has instructed its Bureau to prepare concrete proposals in this respect, such as adjusting the timetable for ECRI’s country-by-country work; taking into account, in ECRI’s reports on the countries concerned, the specific needs, within ECRI’s sphere of competence, arising from the crisis situation with which the region is faced ; the strengthening of national specialised bodies to combat racism and intolerance, etc.

ECRI expresses its readiness to take part in any appropriate activities for which its contribution is requested, with the aim of re-establishing a climate of confidence and promoting the belief that "living together, in a multicultural and multiethnic society, is both possible and enriching".