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Procedure : 2001/2557(RSP)
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Document selected : B5-0340/2001

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Texts adopted
Wednesday, 16 May 2001 - Strasbourg
World Conference Against Racism

European Parliament recommendation on the European Union's position at the World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and related Intolerance

The European Parliament,

-  having regard to Rule 107 of its Rules of Procedure,

-  having regard to Articles 6, 7 and 29 of the Treaty on European Union and Article 13 of the EC Treaty which commit the Union and its Member States to the observance of high standards of human rights and non-discrimination, and to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

-  having regard to the relevant international legal instruments to which the Member States are party, in particular the 1966 International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the 1995 Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and the European Convention for the protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms,

-  having regard to the establishment in 1997 of the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia and the important role it can play in the fight against racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism,

-  having regard to Council Directive 2000/43/EC of 29 June 2000 implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin(1) and the progress made towards acceptance and celebration of diversity in Europe, which gives the EU authority to contribute to the deliberations of the World Conference,

-  having regard to the regional preparatory conferences in Dakar, Tehran, and Santiago, and especially to the conclusions of the 'All different, all equal' European preparatory Conference of 11-13 October 2000, whose subtitle 'from principle to practice' is an injunction we need to follow,

-  whereas the European Union emphasises the role of civil society in combating racism and racial discrimination, and welcomes activities in this field,

-  whereas there is no room for complacency and the EU should learn from the rest of the world; whereas much individual and institutional racism persists in Europe, opinion surveys give considerable cause for concern regarding attitudes towards minority groups, racist violence seems to be on the increase, and there is a worrying degree of political exploitation of prejudice including against immigrants and asylum-seekers,

-  whereas the rise in racism and racist violence against minorities is posing a serious political problem in the Member States, which must deal with it particularly by continuing to promote proper intercultural dialogue and mutual respect of the different cultures,

-  whereas racism often has its origins in Member States" colonial history, and was further manifested by more recent events such as the Holocaust, and this reality should be acknowledged within the European education system and, in particular, in history curricula,

-  whereas, in spite of efforts by the EU and other international bodies, the number of acts of racist violence against immigrants and members of minority communities has increased in Europe and the rest of the world,

-  whereas the European Union rejects any theories which assert the racial superiority of particular groups of peoples,

-  whereas it supports the World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance to be held in Durban, South Africa, from 31 August to 7 September 2001,

-  whereas the Member States are committed to tackling illegal immigration in a humane way, by combating the Mafia networks which exploit human poverty, rather than by taking repressive measures against the victims of such networks,

-  whereas racism and xenophobia are the antithesis of the spirit and practices of European integration, and discrimination based on racial or ethnic origin undermines the objectives of the EC Treaty; whereas the European Union, in developing an area of freedom, security and justice, has a constructive role to play in international relations, and a key responsibility in ensuring a successful outcome to the World Conference Against Racism,

I.  Puts to the Council the following recommendation;

1.  Reminds the Council of Parliament's Resolution of 21 September 2000 concerning the European Union's position at the World Conference Against Racism and the current situation in the Union(2) ;

2.  Believes that Member States and the Union should put principle into practice and make the fight against racism and xenophobia a priority, both at national and international level, including actively opposing ethnic cleansing and genocide and stressing the importance of combating racism and xenophobia in the context of negotiations with candidate countries;

3.  Points out that equality of political, social and cultural rights of immigrants and members of minority communities is the basis of democratic life and deprives racist movements of their ideological source by giving additional safeguards to the most underprivileged,

4.  Proposes sending a delegation to the World Conference in Durban;

5.  Urges the Council to incorporate the following in its common position to be presented on behalf of the European Union at the World Conference Against Racism:

firm condemnation of attacks on immigrants and members of minority communities, and of racist or discriminatory actions against any group of people,
expression of pride in progress the European Union is making in combating racism, but also of humility about the challenges still to be addressed,
recognition of the long-term suffering and continuing impact caused by Europe's historical and contemporary experiences, notably slavery and colonialism, the Holocaust, ethnic cleansing and religious intolerance,
acknowledgement of the connection between, on the one hand, measures to combat racism and on the other, the need to pursue a coordinated European policy on asylum and immigration and promote the equal legal position of immigrants,
commitment by Member States to taking practical measures in combating racism, such as training programmes to combat intolerance, legal recourses for the prosecution of parties and groups with racist or xenophobic ideology, programmes for the social integration of immigrants etc.,
commitment to achieving consensus with parties from other regions of the world on assisting future international development, not least in offering technical and financial assistance to countries at the forefront of the fight against racism and xenophobia,
acknowledgement that full respect of basic rights, including the right to development - established as a fundamental right at the 1993 World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna - is an essential factor in preventing ethnic conflicts, particularly in the developing countries,
emphasis of the importance of the participation of civil society and the NGOs, as essential players when proposing strategies to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and any other expression of intolerance,
determination of Member States to deal with immigration as part of a global strategy that includes cooperation with the immigrants" countries of origin and immigrants" integration, particularly in the field of social and employment issues,
need to take account of situations of multiple discrimination, particularly concerning women, as it is essential to include the gender perspective in action to combat racism and xenophobia,
emphasis on the need to promote policies and programmes that foster and develop the civil, political, economic and social rights of the victims of intolerance, racism and xenophobia,

II.  Calls on the Presidency, in accordance with Articles 19 and 21 of the Treaty on European Union, to inform and consult Parliament at an early date on the main aspects and basic choices concerning the common position for, and coordinated action at, the conference;

III.  Instructs its President to forward this Recommendation to the Council, the Commission, the governments of Member States, the Council of Europe and the Secretary-General of the World Conference Against Racism.

(1) OJ L 180, 19.7.2000, p. 22.
(2) Texts Adopted, Item 16.

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