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Dublin: 4 °C Monday 17 December, 2018

Hate speech, xenophobia, and resentment are 'unrelentingly' on the rise across Europe

The annual report of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance paints a bleak picture of the levels of tolerance currently being seen across the EU.

Thuringia CDU event with Angela Merkel Screaming protesters manifest their displeasure with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a campaign event in August 2017. The text on the band reads Voting for the CDU is voting for unlimited immigration by bogus asylum seekers. Source: DPA/PA Images

HATE SPEECH AND xenophobic populism is still very much on the rise across Europe, according to a new report.

The annual report of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) suggests that populist rhetoric is still fostering resentment to an ‘unrelenting’ extent across the EU.

It suggests that the continuing migration seen into EU countries from troublespots around the globe, together with the consequent challenges of integration, which has led to that rhetoric, has now ‘blended into a hatred of non-nationals or minorities’.

It also suggests that the pervasiveness of social media has ‘encouraged self-segregation and deepened social divides’.

“While acknowledging the difficulties European states encounter, we still have to encourage them to change their narrative to a more balanced and fact-based discourse that emphasises the positive contribution of well-governed migration, in particular by underlining the opportunities and resources migrants can bring,” said chairperson of the ECRI Jean-Paul Lehners.

‘Gradually becoming acceptable’

The report states that Islamophobia is ‘gradually becoming acceptable’ in the discourse and media of many European countries.

Antisemitic hatred is still widespread across the continent, it states, as is discrimination against Roma, Travellers, and people of African descent.

Regarding homo- and transphobia, the 2017 report presents a bit more of a mixed bag, with “progress in some countries offering greater protection for LGBT persons and problems in others where they still experience unacceptably high levels of stigma, intolerance, hatred and discrimination”.

The ECRI’s previous recommendations, aimed at improving legislation in Council of Europe member states with a view to combating racism and discrimination, have not yet been fully implemented by many EU states, including Ireland.

Just 20 of the 47 members of the Council have ratified Protocol 12 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which has as its aim a general prohibition on discrimination.

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