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Thursday, 2 February 2012

Racism in Europe is Growing and Growing



A suspected accomplice of a neo-Nazi cell, with his hands cuffed (C) is escorted by police as he is transported to Germany's federal state prosecutor.

Photograph by: WOLFGANG RATTAY, Reuters




VIENNA - Racism is spreading in Europe, human rights chief Thomas Hammarberg said Thursday, also calling for further light on unresolved crimes from the "war on terror" and in the former Yugoslavia.
"Xenophobia, racism... is on the rise in a number of European countries for the moment, with negative effects not only on migrants but also on Roma and other minorities," Hammarberg, the Council of EuropeÕs human rights commissioner, said in Vienna.
More diversified media coverage and teaching tolerance in school could help slow this trend, he said in an address to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
But abuse of human and other basic fundamental rights around the continent remained, he added, pointing to continuing frictions between states and national minorities, and election violations.
"Some of the (election) monitoring is focusing not enough on whether there is a fairness in the whole campaign," said Hammarberg, who urged a review of current monitoring procedures.
"ItÕs not only a question of checking that the balloting day is fair and the counting of votes is correct but the whole atmosphere around the election campaign," including the right to organise rallies and for all political parties to get their message out in the media.
Dealing with past human rights violations, on top of new ones, should also remain a key priority, said Hammarberg.
"We have not done enough to clarify what actually happened after September 11," he said, a reference to secret CIA prisons set up in some European countries after 2001 as part of the "war on terror."
In the former war-torn Yugoslavia as well, "there are still problems... relating to the right to return (of refugees), relating to missing people or still not accounted for."
"There are some graves which have still not been opened, and of course there are still problems when it comes to holding to account war criminals," he added.

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