Over the last decade, manifestations of racism, hatred and
intolerance have increased both in gravity and number. The effects
of the economic crisis on the social fabric and governments’ failure
to devise and implement adequate policies on social cohesion, migration
and Roma inclusion have triggered this upsurge, which has been amplified
by the increasing use of Internet and social media.
It has become urgent to address racism, hatred and intolerance
in Europe through a strategic rather than a piecemeal approach.
The urgency becomes even more acute considering that these phenomena
affect entire groups, leading to group victimisation; they create
divides in society between different groups, affecting human rights
and social cohesion; and they erode even further the trust in public
authorities, the rule of law and ultimately democracy.
A strategic approach to racism, hatred and intolerance implies
the strengthening of a comprehensive legal framework at national
level, accompanied by greater efforts to ensure its effective implementation.
The Council of Europe should take up a leadership role in this area,
putting emphasis on prevention, awareness raising and human rights
education, while relying on the Internet and social media as valuable
tools to reach out to a wider public.