“Over 20 years after the drafting and opening for signature of the Charter of European Political Parties for a Non-Racist Society, the time is ripe to update this text, as we have witnessed changes in the political landscape – with the emergence of populist and xenophobic movements – and in communication, with the pervasive use of social media,” said Momodou Malcolm Jallow (Sweden, UEL), PACE General Rapporteur on combating racism and intolerance and Coordinator of the No Hate Parliamentary Alliance, at the opening of a hearing jointly organised by the Equality Committee, the Political Affairs Committee and the No Hate Parliamentary Alliance.
The Charter, which was drawn up under the auspices of the EU Consultative Commission on Racism and Xenophobia, is based on international human rights standards enshrined in texts adopted by the United Nations, the Council of Europe and the European Union, explained Mr Jallow. “This text calls on political parties to make use of their power of self-regulation and to commit themselves to defend basic human rights and democratic principles, to reject all forms of racist violence, incitement to racial hatred and harassment”, he added.
Andreas Nick (Germany, PPE/DC), First Vice-Chairperson of the Committee on Political Affairs, who recalled PACE’S work in the area of countering extremism, believes that all European parties need this Charter as a tool to self-regulate and agree upon the red lines that cannot be crossed: hatred, discrimination, xenophobia and all other forms of intolerance based on race, colour, religion, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation or gender identity, disability, or social status.
“This Charter commits all European parties to the values uphold by the Council of Europe and by our national Constitutions. All political groups in our Assembly as well as in the European Parliament should endorse it and promote it actively in our national parliaments. That is critical and urgent in the current political landscape with a view to counteracting manifestations of neo-Nazism and right-wing extremism”, he said, stressing the need for an updated Charter.
Samira Rafaela, member of the European Parliament, Co-president of the Antiracism and Discrimination Intergroup (ARDI), also expressed her support to this initiative and highlighted recent milestones in the area of combating racism at European Union level, such as the Anti-racism Action Plan 2020-2025. She expressed her full support to the updating and relaunching of the Charter and would bring the discussion to ARDI.
Two other speakers made presentations with a technical approach concerning the widening of the Charter’s scope, while raising the issue of sanctions for non-compliance and measures to be set forth in cases of breach of the Charter, and stressing the need for a strong political support:
- Maria Daniella Marouda, Chair of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI)
- and Nicolae Esanu, Substitute member of the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission)