In this month’s podcast, the blogger and commentator Sunny Hundal, journalist Samantha Agro and ECRI lawyer Sarah Burton share their views on Europe’s debate over muliculturalism.
The wide ranging discussion takes in the recent comments by some of Europe’s highest profile politicians, the impact of terrorism and migration, civil liberties and Islamic polls on Sharia law.
The debate on multiculturalism takes place amid increasing concern about the rise of extremism, the impact of migration on societies and the emergence of “parallel communities.”
In a joint statement to mark International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), the Council of Europe’s European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) and the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) strongly condemn manifestations of racism and xenophobia, with a particular focus on the Internet.
“We must remain vigilant in the face of racist behaviour and incidents, including hate crimes and malicious expressions of hate and racist sentiments on the Internet.
“Our organisations are alarmed by patterns and manifestations of racism such as the ever-increasing use of the Internet by racist groups for recruitment, radicalisation, command and control, as well as for the intimidation and harassment of opponents. The Internet has become an important communications channel that links people in ‘cyberspace’, who then meet and take action in the physical world.
“Social networking sites are now prime locations for the spread of racist and xenophobic views, especially among young people. We must challenge such views, while being careful not to undermine freedom of expression.”
Ahmet Davutoğlu, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Turkey and Chairman of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Minister, said: “Now more than ever, as we respond to the challenges of our changing societies, there is a need to fight all forms of racism and xenophobia.”
Thomas Hammarberg, the Human Rights Commissioner, warns that “Discrimination is a major problem in Europe today,” before adding that “eradicating it would make our continent a much better place to live.”
He calls on governments to maintain effective “national structures for promoting equality.” The commissioner adds: “Political leaders must support these bodies and promote their establishment were they do not exist. This is all the more necessary in times of economic crisis: State responses to the crisis should in no way slacken efforts to eradicate discrimination.”
Information: European Commission Against Racism And Intolerance
Webfile: Eminent Persons Group – ‘Living Together In The 21st Century’
Statement: Ahmet Davutoğlu, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Turkey, Chairman of the Committee of Ministers – 2011 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
Declaration: European human rights bodies call for decisive action against racism and xenophobia
Parliamentary Assembly: We need a new paradigm for living together
Blog: Sunny Hundal - Pickled Politics
FactSheet: The European Convention And The Fight Against Discrimination
Opinion: Human Rights Commissioner – Effective national agencies are needed to prevent discrimination
Podcast : The Guardian Newspaper’s Gary Younge On Multiculturalism And Identity In Europe.
Podcast : An American View Of Europe’s Integration Of Roma Communities
Video: Roma Mediators Training Programme – Day 1
Podcast: ‘Romaphobia’ In Europe
Feature: Focus On ECRI
News: Governments Called To Action As Extremists Turn To Social Networks
News: Whitmore warns against ‘anti-Roma’ declaration
Profile: Naema Tahir – Dutch Human Rights Lawyer And Novelist