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International Day of Tolerance: statements by Council of Europe leaders

“We must change mentality to change reality ” Statement by Terry Davis, Secretary General of the Council of Europe on the International Day of Tolerance

Strasbourg, 15.11.2006 - Sixty years ago, millions of people – Roma, Jews, Gay and Lesbian people - were murdered in Nazi death camps. Only a few neo-Nazis try to defend this atrocity, but the hard truth is that this experience changed little in the thinking of large numbers of their neighbours or the way minorities are treated in Europe. Even today, on the International Day of Tolerance, the Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner Thomas Hammerberg is in Slovenia as a result of reports that a Roma family has been moved from their home in order to protect them against their neighbours.

 “All Different All Equal” is the slogan of a Council of Europe campaign against prejudice and discrimination. It is run by young people for young people. It is not enough to proclaim “never again”. Words must be translated into reality, and we must change mentality if we want to change reality.

It is not enough to proclaim “never again”. Words must be translated into reality, and we must change mentality if we want to change reality.

For more info, see http://alldifferent-allequal.info/ or www.dosta.org

Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights issues statement on International Day of Tolerance

Strasbourg, 15.11.2006 - On the occasion of the International Day of Tolerance (16 November), Commissioner Thomas Hammarberg stressed that European governments needs to take stronger action to ensure that the current increase in Xenophobia, Islamophobia and anti-Tziganism is curtailed.

"I fear that if European governments do not take stronger action, these trends will become irreversible," the Commissioner said. "Governments should actively protect the ideals on which most of Europe has been built. It has to be recognised that the weakened social support structures as well as unemployment are among the root causes of some xenophobic tendencies.

Economic policies which ignore the social dimension have destructive consequences. Governments should thus manage Europe's quest for a new place in the globalising world without further damaging this key pillar of the European social system. It is also important to add that firm legal measures are urgently needed to counter hate crimes, and the basic school curricula should be reviewed to include guidance to children on respecting those who are different."

 

Council of Europe Press Division
Tel: +33 (0)3 88 41 25 60
Fax:+33 (0)3 88 41 39 11
pressunit@coe.int
www.coe.int/press

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