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All forces needed to combat racism

On 25 May 2016, Milena Santerini, PACE General Rapporteur on combating racism and intolerance, presented the No Hate Parliamentary Alliance to civil society organisations and the media at the Council of Europe Liaison office in Brussels. With the participation of representatives of ENAR (European Network Against Racism) and EQUINET (European Network of Equality Bodies), Ms Santerini was able to reach out to about 200 organisations (NGOs and equality bodies) in Europe and invited them to contact the members of the Alliance for activities at the national level. “All forces are needed to as to combat efficiently racism and intolerance”, she emphasised.

Participants held a discussion on the role of parliamentarians in preventing and combating racism and intolerance during which Ms Santerini stressed the responsibility of politicians in combating hate speech and racism. She answered questions on the composition of the No Hate Parliamentary Alliance, cooperation with equality bodies, counter-narratives, relevant on-going work at the Parliamentary Assembly, combating online hate speech and the development of positive narrative online. “Legislation is not enough to prevent and combat racism, a change of mindsets is needed”, stated Ms Santerini. Claire Fernandez, representing ENAR, emphasised the importance of political will so as to ensure the full implementation of existing anti-discrimination legislation. Willingness to cooperate was expressed from all sides.

The development of stronger cooperation with members of ARDI (European Parliament Anti-Racism and Diversity Intergroup) was also discussed. Membership in the Alliance is open to members of the European Parliament and the Alliance looks forward to future cooperation opportunities.