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State violence against migrants must be investigated and stamped out, say PACE committee heads

Strasbourg, 06.07.2012 – The Chairs of the Migration and Equality Committees of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Giacomo Santini (Italy, EPP/CD) and Tina Acketoft (Sweden, ALDE), have expressed grave concern at an increasing number of incidents of state violence against migrants and refugees.

In a joint statement, they said: “The recent alleged beating to death of an asylum seeker in Malta while being detained by two soldiers last Saturday is an extremely serious incident. Attacks against migrants and refugees are of increasing concern, including in Greece, where there are a worrying number of allegations of police brutality, and failures by them to investigate racist attacks on migrants and refugees.”

The two committee Chairs very much welcomed the signals from the Maltese authorities that they would conduct a rapid investigation into the death of the asylum seeker. They emphasised the need to stamp out violence against migrants and refugees, whether by state actors or by individuals. “Persons responsible for such violence must be brought to account,” they concluded.

The Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination will look into the issue of institutional racism during the preparation of a forthcoming report on “Tackling racism in law-enforcement institutions”.