Following the Parliamentary Conference on Diversity, inclusiveness and non-discrimination against racism and intolerance in Europe which had been organised by the Swedish Parliament and the PACE Equality and Non-Discrimination Committee, as part of the activities of the No Hate Parliamentary Alliance on 25 October by initiative of Momodou Malcolm Jallow (Sweden, UEL), PACE General Rapporteur on combating racism and intolerance, a final statement has been issued.
The No Hate Parliamentary Alliance,
– Highlights the danger of the increasingly intolerant, xenophobic and racist rhetoric present in the political discourse of some Council of Europe member States. It is worrying that such rhetoric, once used only by populist and radical right-wing forces, is now spreading across the political spectrum and becoming increasingly normalised. The internet significantly contributes to spreading, amplifying and trivialising hate speech;
– Draws attention to the need to adopt an intersectional approach in identifying discrimination and in designing and enforcing measures to address it;
– Believes that racism undermines democracy, human rights and the rule of law and that countering racism and intolerance is crucial to defend those fundamental values;
– Urges decision-makers to protect the social fabric, tackle people’s fears originating from global challenges and avoid scapegoating;
– Underlines that the cultural industries, including the press, cinema and television, as well as online media and in particular social networks, have an important role to play in countering ethnic bias. They should propagate accurate information and refrain from negative stereotyping and stigmatisation of individuals and groups based on their ethnic origin;
– Reiterates that politicians, including legislators and policy makers, have a political and moral obligation to refrain from hate speech and stigmatising language and to condemn immediately and unequivocally its use;
– Supports the initiatives aiming to draw a line between freedom of expression and racism, intolerance and hate speech, such as the Recommendation on Combating Hate Speech to be adopted by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe;
– Confirms its commitment to cooperate closely in these areas with relevant bodies within national parliaments and the European Parliament as well as with civil society organisations;
– Reiterates its support for the Charter of European political parties for a non-racist society and welcomes initiatives to revise it and increase its scope;
– Thanks the institutions and individuals that contributed to the added value of the present conference and proposes that its outputs be taken into account in the work of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly’s Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination towards countering racism, intolerance, discrimination and hate speech, particularly on issues including ethnic data collection, visibility and representation of minorities, hate crime legislation, securing space for civil society, and institutional infrastructure to counter racism ;
– Trusts that the Parliamentary Assembly will further develop and step up its action in these areas, which are fully in line with the Council of Europe’s vocation to foster peace and unity amongst its members, and that in doing so it will support the work of relevant bodies within the Council of Europe, including the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) and the Steering Committee on Anti-discrimination, Diversity and Inclusion (CDADI).
PACE General Rapporteur Mr Jallow welcomes the increasing awareness among national and international institutions of the importance and urgency of combatting racism and intolerance, and trusts that also the speakers of the Conference, which included parliamentarians and representatives of the United Nations, the European Union, and a number of NGOs working in the field; the Swedish Equality Ombudsman; the Swedish member of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI); and academics, continue their important work in this field and call upon others to join the efforts to combat racism at its roots.