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Resolution 2106 (2016)

Renewed commitment in the fight against antisemitism in Europe

Author(s): Parliamentary Assembly

Origin - Assembly debate on 20 April 2016 (14th Sitting) (see Doc. 14008, report of the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination, rapporteur: Mr Boriss Cilevičs; and Doc.14023, opinion of the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy, rapporteur: Mr Titus Corlăţean). Text adopted by the Assembly on 20 April 2016 (14th Sitting).

1. Targeted attacks against members of the Jewish community in recent years in several Council of Europe member States demonstrate that antisemitism is not a curse of the past, but is a threat and a reality in Europe today.
2. The Parliamentary Assembly has observed for some years a worrying increase in the number of manifestations of hate speech, racism, xenophobia and intolerance in Europe affecting migrants and asylum seekers, Jews, Muslims and Roma, Sinti and Travellers. It has relentlessly condemned manifestations of hatred and intolerance and called on its members to take a strong stand against them.
3. Historically, manifestations of antisemitism have shown how prejudice and intolerance can lead to systematic harassment, discrimination and ultimately mass killings and genocide. Still today, persisting stereotypes, insults and physical violence are experienced on a daily basis by members of the Jewish community in Europe. Limited protection mechanisms and the partial implementation of anti-discrimination and anti-racism legislation do not guarantee equality and safety for all.
4. Antisemitism and its manifestations are in contradiction with the fundamental values of the Council of Europe. It finds its origin in deep-rooted prejudice in society against Jews, which will only be overcome by increased awareness-raising efforts among the population and strong political condemnation. The Assembly expresses its concerns regarding the perpetuation of discriminatory stereotypes and calls for action to combat this scourge.
5. Most Council of Europe member States have taken relevant action to combat antisemitism and discrimination. But in the light of recent events, member States need to be increasingly vigilant and step up efforts to respond to new challenges. Governments and parliaments should consider the fight against antisemitism as a priority and their responsibility, as an integral part of policies and action to counter all forms of hatred.
6. Referring to its Resolution 1563 (2007) on combating anti-Semitism in Europe, the Assembly recalls that antisemitism represents a danger for all democratic States as it serves as a pretext for the use of and justification for violence. The Assembly also supports the work of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance in preventing and combating all forms of racism and intolerance, including antisemitism. Full implementation of its General Policy Recommendation No. 9 on the fight against antisemitism and follow-up to its recommendations following country visits need to be ensured.
7. In the light of these considerations, the Assembly calls on Council of Europe member States, observers and partners for democracy to:
7.1. with regard to the condemnation and prosecution of antisemitic crimes:
7.1.1. ensure, while safeguarding freedom of expression, that the legislative framework on combating discrimination on any ground and hate speech is comprehensive and implemented, covering manifestations of antisemitism, such as public incitement to violence, hatred or discrimination, public insults, threats and desecration and profanation of Jewish property and monuments;
7.1.2. make the public denial, trivialisation, justification or praise of the Holocaust (“Shoah”), of crimes of genocide and of crimes against humanity a criminal offence, where this is not yet the case;
7.1.3. make a motive based on race, national or ethnic origin, religion or belief an aggravating factor in a criminal offence, where this is not yet the case;
7.1.4. ensure the prosecution of political figures and political parties for antisemitic statements and incitement to hatred;
7.1.5. suppress public funding of organisations and political parties promoting antisemitism;
7.1.6. sign and ratify, if they have not yet done so, Protocol No. 12 to the European Convention on Human Rights (ETS No. 177);
7.2. with regard to the reporting of antisemitic and other hate crimes:
7.2.1. increase the level of trust in the national authorities by providing police officers with training on combating hate crime and discrimination, and setting up dedicated anti-hate crime units in police forces, where such units do not yet already exist;
7.2.2. encourage victims to report antisemitic and other hate crimes by launching information campaigns on how to report such crimes;
7.2.3. step up efforts to ensure that a comprehensive and efficient system is put in place for the collection of data on hate crimes, disaggregated by motivation, and ensure the publication of the number of complaints and their motivation;
7.2.4. encourage co-operation between the police, the judiciary, educators and civil society organisations in assisting victims of hate crime;
7.3. with regard to the prevention of antisemitism:
7.3.1. require that educational programmes emphasise the link between current manifestations of hatred and intolerance and the Holocaust (“Shoah”);
7.3.2. ensure that the teaching of the Holocaust (“Shoah”) is made an integral part of the curriculum at secondary level and that teachers receive specific training;
7.3.3. encourage exchanges between children and young people of different faiths via joint activities, cultural programmes and sports events;
7.3.4. engage in reflections and debates, at governmental and parliamentary levels, with the participation of political and religious leaders of different faiths, spiritual and humanistic beliefs, on the reasons behind the persistence of negative stereotyping and the root causes of antisemitism;
7.3.5. oblige perpetrators of antisemitic acts to participate in educational programmes on the Holocaust (“Shoah”);
7.3.6. launch awareness-raising campaigns promoting respect and harmonious living together, including in the framework of school curricula and integration programmes for migrants and refugees;
7.3.7. actively promote the Day of Remembrance of the Holocaust and for the Prevention of Crimes against Humanity;
7.4. with regard to antisemitism in the media and online antisemitic hate speech:
7.4.1. encourage the media to promote respect for all religious faiths and appreciation of diversity and to report impartially on antisemitic attacks and on world events;
7.4.2. urge Internet service providers and social media to take specific action to prevent and combat online hate speech;
7.4.3. sign and ratify, if they have not yet done so, the Additional Protocol to the Convention on Cybercrime, concerning the criminalisation of acts of a racist and xenophobic nature committed through computer systems (ETS No. 189).
8. The Assembly calls on the member States to take necessary measures to ensure the security of Jewish people and their religious, educational and cultural premises in close consultation and dialogue with Jewish communities and their representatives.
9. The Assembly encourages national parliaments, including partners for democracy, to co-operate with the No Hate Parliamentary Alliance and the No Hate Speech Movement in their activities to prevent and combat antisemitism and other forms of hate speech and intolerance. The Assembly also calls for increased dialogue on means to prevent and combat antisemitism with the observer delegation of the Knesset at the Assembly.
10. The Assembly urges members of national parliaments and political leaders to systematically and publicly condemn antisemitic statements and engage in counter speech and alternative narratives. It also encourages them to set up an all-party parliamentary group against antisemitism to strengthen the fight across the political spectrum.
11. The Assembly recognises the important role of civil society organisations in preventing and combating all forms of hatred and intolerance and calls for their continuous financial support.
12. Referring to Recommendation 1962 (2011) on the religious dimension of intercultural dialogue and Recommendation 2080 (2015) on freedom of religion and living together in a democratic society, the Assembly reiterates its proposal that the Committee of Ministers set up a stable and officially recognised platform for dialogue between the Council of Europe and senior representatives of religions and non-denominational organisations.