1. The Committee on Political
Affairs and Democracy congratulates the Committee on Migration,
Refugees and Displaced Persons and its rapporteur, Ms Dumery, for
the report on portrayal of migrants and refugees during election
campaigns. The report aptly discusses the way in which some candidates
and political parties in the Council of Europe member States present
migrants and refugees during election campaigns as a threat and
a burden on society. It rightly warns against the risks of extremism
and xenophobia and the challenges these represent for democracy
and human rights.
2. The report would nevertheless benefit from the addition of
a clear and explicit appeal to political parties to commit themselves
to the Charter of European Political Parties for a Non-Racist Society,
signed by the President of the Parliamentary Assembly and the President
of the European Parliament in 2003.
3. The committee takes the view that, during election campaigns,
it is particularly important to deal responsibly and fairly with
sensitive topics relating to fears and tensions between groups from
different ethnic, national, religious or social backgrounds. Furthermore,
immigration issues should be tackled not only from an economic angle
but also from a cultural one, making the case for the benefits of
diversity in Europe.
4. The European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice
Commission), notably through its Council for Democratic Elections,
could also bring a useful contribution to the discussion. This is
the purpose of the amendments proposed by the Committee on Political
Affairs and Democracy.