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Alarm at the spreading of racism and intolerance in Europe

The Sub-Committee on Racism and Xenophobia today made the following statement:

"The Sub-Committee expresses deep concern at the increase in manifestations of racism throughout Europe, which undermine the fundamental values of democratic societies.

No country is immune to this phenomenon. However, some recent events raise particular concerns.

In Greece, the murder of Pavlos Fyssas is the last in a series of violent attacks conducted at the instigation or with the direct involvement of members of Golden Dawn, a political party which is represented in the national parliament. The Sub-Committee firmly condemns the use of violence, encourages the Greek authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into this as well as all the other crimes motivated by racism, intolerance and xenophobia, and recalls that being a member of a political party does not protect against criminal liability.

In Sweden, the discovery of a police database on Roma has shed light on the discrimination and stigmatisation faced by this group. The Sub-Committee stresses that law-enforcement officials should lead by example in combating racism and looks forward to the results of the investigation.

In Italy, Cecile Kyenge, Minister for Integration, has been the target of racist insults, including by fellow politicians. The Sub-Committee offers its full support to the declaration against racism signed by 17 European Union Ministers in Rome on 23 September 2013, reacting to this state of affairs.

The Sub-Committee warns against lowering the threshold of vigilance against racism and intolerance in Europe, including in political discourse and public life. It is also concerned at the spreading of racism, intolerance and hate speech via the new media, to which young people are particularly exposed. In this context, it expresses support to the Council of Europe No Hate Speech Campaign and invites parliamentarians to join its national Committees."