Migrants are much more exposed to violence than other members of the general population. This may due to a range of reasons, starting from crimes such as trafficking and exploitation of human beings, through to racism, discrimination and intolerance. It can be violence of a physical, moral or psychological nature. It is a phenomenon which affects all of Europe albeit on different scales.
Politicians and mass media have a major responsibility in combating this dangerous tendency, and they need to ensure that they do not provoke it further through racist and xenophobic messages. The introduction of increasingly restrictive policies towards migrants, and harsher measures against irregular migrants risks aggravating the vulnerability of migrants.
The governments of the Council of Europe countries should take all possible legislative and institutional measures to combat violence, discrimination and hate speech against migrants. Special policies should be adopted to prevent victimisation of migrants and to provide assistance to the victims. The main emphasis should be put on social inclusion programmes as an effective solution to fight stigmatisation, racism and xenophobia.
Taking into account the alarming scale of this problem in Europe, the Council of Europe and the Parliamentary Assembly should support further initiatives, such as an all-European campaign to combat violence against migrants.