Today Europe faces an unprecedented rise of racism, xenophobia and intolerance causing tensions in societies. History repeatedly proves that carelessness and failure to address this plague negatively affects the integrity of societies, threatens fundamental human values, and gives birth to autocratic regimes.
The core task of the Council of Europe is to protect human rights and dignity, and promote democracy and the rule of law. The leaders of Council of Europe member States should have the political will and act adequately to combat ideologies and practices inciting intolerance and containing actions or language undermining democracy, cohesion and pluralism. Leaders should avoid dangerous populism to attract in the short-term the attention of their electorate, which could divide societies in the long-term. Europe needed decades to overcome the harm caused by xenophobic and intolerant politicians.
The recent reports and other publications of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) showed an alarming growth of policy of hatred, hate speech, and intolerance which, in many cases, are sponsored or supported by the authorities and practically implemented by the media and educational institutions. The Parliamentary Assembly expresses its deep concern about these cases and underlines that political leaders should consolidate societies, rather than spreading hate and intolerance and creating dividing lines. In the long term perspective, this tendency is a serious threat for all Europe.
Following the findings of the ECRI reports, the Assembly urges public figures and political leaders of member States to refrain from hate speech, to create adequate conditions for the development of a diverse and independent civil society; to implement actions to combat the harmful hate speech targeted at ethnic, religious minorities and other vulnerable groups; put an end to the use of hate speech in political and social life.
The Assembly finds it necessary to have a comprehensive follow-up to the ECRI recommendations.