MINELRES: ECRI: NEW country reports

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Mon Jun 15 21:47:02 2009

Original sender: ECRI <Combat.Racism@coe.int>


The Council of Europe Commission against Racism and Intolerance
publishes new reports on Belgium, Germany and Slovakia

Strasbourg, 26.05.2009 – The Council of Europe’s European Commission
against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) released today three new reports
examining racism, xenophobia, antisemitism and intolerance in Belgium,
Germany and Slovakia. The ECRI reports note positive developments in all
three of these Council of Europe member states, but also detail
continuing grounds for concern, said the Chair of ECRI, Eva Smith

In Belgium, the Federal Action Plan to combat racism, antisemitism,
xenophobia and related violence was adopted in 2004 and its
implementation is in progress. Steps have been taken to improve the
content and the implementation of legislation to combat racial
discrimination and racism. However, cases of racial discrimination,
particularly against non-citizens, persons of immigrant background,
Muslims and Travellers, still occur in fields such as access to
employment, education and housing. The persistence of racist,
antisemitic, islamophobic and xenophobic discourse by some politicians
and on the Internet is worrying. 

In Germany, the adoption of the General Equal Treatment Act (AGG) has
strengthened the legal and institutional framework against racism and
discrimination; there are signs of improved dialogue with the Muslim
community and the authorities have begun to develop a strong new focus
on integration, aiming to help migrants participate fully in German
society. However, violent racist, xenophobic and antisemitic attacks
continue to be reported, and support for parties expressing racist,
antisemitic or revisionist views has increased. At the same time,
discrimination in daily life is reported by members of the Muslim,
Turkish, Black as well as Roma and Sinti communities. 

In Slovakia, a new Criminal Code containing several provisions on
racially-motivated crimes was adopted in 2006 and the
Anti-Discrimination Act, which prohibits discrimination based on, among
others, race, religion, national or ethnic origin, colour and language,
was passed in 2004. However, the situation of the Roma remains worrying
in areas such as education, housing, employment and health and instances
of police brutality against members of this minority still occur. A rise
in racist political discourse by some politicians targeting primarily
Hungarians, as well as Roma and Jewish people, has been noted. The
integration of refugees is still an issue that needs to be tackled,
namely through the integration strategy devised by the Slovak

These new reports form part of a fourth monitoring cycle of the Council
of Europe member states’ laws, policies and practices aimed at combating
racism. ECRI’s country specific reports are available in English, French
and the national language of the country concerned at www.coe.int/ecri.
They cover all member states on an equal footing, from the perspective
of protecting human rights.

ECRI is an independent human rights body of the Council of Europe which
monitors problems of racism and intolerance, prepares reports and issues
recommendations to member states. 


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