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13/10/2005- A southern Russian university town which is popular with British students has been described as a "crucible of race hatred" following what looks like yet another student's murder at the hands of foreigner-hating skinheads.
Eighteen-year-old Enrique Urtado, a Peruvian, was set upon last Sunday in the city of Voronezh by a group of 15 to 20 young men who beat him and his friends with metal poles and wooden stakes. Mr Urtado was stabbed twice and died on his way to hospital while two of his friends, also foreign students, were taken to hospital. The two survivors said at least three of the attackers were skinheads.
Researchers are warning that Voronezh has become one of the country's main skinhead recruiting grounds. Elements of the Russian media have called it "the Russian capital of race hatred", saying that Moscow and St Petersburg were vying for the title but that Voronezh has now won.
Mr Urtado and his friends are reported to have lain in pools of their own blood for at least an hour before they were given aid. His death has drawn strong condemnation from Russian politicians who say they are worried that a wave of skinhead violence against foreigners in general and students in Voronezh in particular is damaging the country's image.
Russia is estimated to be home to more than 50,000 skinheads, and anti-foreigner feeling is reported to be on the rise. Gabriel Kotchofa, president of the Foreign Students Association in Russia, said that Mr Urtado was the 13th foreign student to lose his life in a racially motivated attack in the past five years.
Human rights groups say that 44 people were murdered in racist attacks across Russia last year. Most of the serious attacks on students have taken place in Voronezh, a depressed city 300 miles south of Moscow that is famous for its aircraft factory, its high unemployment rate and the fact that it hosts some 1,200 foreign students.
Voronezh has long been a popular destination for Russian-language students from the UK on their year abroad, with the universities of Edinburgh, Manchester and Bath all offering students the chance to study there.
In Soviet times, the city, which has a population of about 900,000, enjoyed a reputation as a quiet provincial backwater, the capital of the surrounding Black Earth region. But today it is more associated with violence against foreigners. The authorities have admitted that there have been 45 attacks on foreigners this year alone.
Mr Urtado's murder has prompted the Russian Ministry of Education to send a special representative to evaluate whether the city should still be recommended as a place to study for foreign students. His murder has also been strongly condemned by the Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, and a unit of detectives from Moscow has been dispatched to Voronezh to help with the investigation. The account of the murder emerged yesterday as the trial of two Voronezh youths charged with brutally beating two Chinese students in June began.
In another high-profile case, a 24-year-old from Guinea-Bissau, Amaro Antonio Limo, who was last year stabbed to death in Voronezh by a skinhead gang. Three young men were convicted of his murder and sentenced to up to 17 years in prison.
FOREIGN STUDENTS ATTACKED IN VORONEZH WANT TO LEAVE CITY
12/10/2005- The foreign students who were attacked in Voronezh last weekend want to continue studying in another Russian city, Ramirez Yegorov, consul-general at the Peruvian embassy in Russia, said on Wednesday. The consul said he had met with the students and their condition is "satisfactory". However they told him it would be "hard for them to be in the city where their comrade had died". The Peruvian embassy will consider the possibility of transferring a Peruvian and a Spanish students to another Russian city.
The students were attacked by skinheads, Yegorov said. The students told him there were "young men" with shaved heads among the assaulters. "It is necessary to find these bandits. Authorities must do everything for that," he quoted one of the attacked Peruvian students as saying. The consul believes that the problem of racism in Russian society "unfortunately exists". He recalled that two years ago in Voronezh "a Peruvian student was attacked, but the case was closed". The diplomat said the body of the killed student, Angeles Hurtado Enrique, will be sent home within the next few days.
Earlier in the day, Voronezh region prosecutor Alexander Ponomarev said there are grounds to believe that the murder of the student from Peru will be solved. The regional Prosecutor's Office has begun a probe on charges of murder and hooliganism. The region's best law enforcers are investigating the crime. The prosecutor said the investigators "will pursue all leads, including murder out of national, racial hatred." Ponomarev said several suspects have been detained in the case. "They are being interrogated, and after that the investigators will decide whether or not charges should be brought against them," he said. At the same time, Ponomarev declined to provide details of the detention "in the interests of the investigation".
A Peruvian student was killed as a result of the attack. A group of young men of up to 20 people attacked the 18-year-old student and his friends. The attackers beat the students with sticks and metal rods, killing Enrique, a student of the Academy of Architecture. His compatriot Lavaro Hayala Alexander, 18, a student of the Medical Academy, received brain injuries. Spanish citizen Potino Rodriguez Mario, 38, a trainee at the philological department of Voronezh State University was also injured. Another student, a Voronezh resident who was with the foreigners, was also hurt. Russian Deputy Interior Minister Andrei Novikov is personally overseeing the investigation of the crime.
BODY OF KILLED PERUVIAN STUDENT TO BE SENT TO PERU
13/10/2005- The body of killed Peruvian student Angelis Hurtado Enrique will be sent from Voronezh to Peru on Thursday, Consul General of the Peruvian Embassy to Russia Ramirez Egorov said on Wednesday. According to him, "it became possible after the Peruvian Embassy to Russia authorized a forensic expertise that is needed for the investigation on the causes of the young man's death." On the same day the farewell ceremony with the Peruvian student will be held at the Voronezh Architectural University that paid all expenses for the transportation of the body of the killed student.
Three foreign students were attacked in Voronezh on October 9. A big group of local hooligans beat them brutally with sticks and metal rods. Student of the Architectural University Angelis Hurtado Enrique, 18, died from injuries. Two his friends got serious injuries and are staying in hospital. During the conversation with the consul they said they want to leave Voronezh and move to another Russian city to continue their studies.
NO POLITICS BEHIND MURDER OF PERUVIAN STUDENT - VORONEZH GOVERNOR
10/10/2005- Governor of Russia's Voronezh region Vladimir Kulakov said there is no political motivation behind the murder of the Peruvian student, because a Russian citizen was injured during the attack together with foreigners. It is only by joint efforts of law-enforcement bodies, militia groups and units of student volunteers that the safety of foreign citizens can been ensured, Kulakov said. He said it is inadmissible that the Olympic sport and health center where the student was killed has no police posts. All police forces should join the manhunt for the attackers, the governor said in a statement. Kulakov expressed his condolences to the relatives and friends of the victim and the injured students.
The attack on three foreign students and a young man from Voronezh was staged on Sunday night near the Olympic recreation center in the outskirts of the town. A group of some 20 young men, armed with sticks and iron rods, attacked two Peruvians, a Spaniard and a Russian. Angelis Hurtado Enrique, 18, from Peru, a student of the Academy of Architecture, died as a result of the injuries. Lavaro Hayalo Alexander, 18, also from Peru, a student of the Medical Academy, and Potino Rodriguez Mario, 30, a practical student of the philological department of the Voronezh University, were hospitalized with cranial injuries. A Russian student from Voronezh was also injured, but he refused to be taken to hospital after medical aid was given to him right on the spot.
By Alexei Terekhov, Anastasia Berseneva and Novyie Izvestia
5/10/2005- On Sunday in Voronezh a citizen of Rwanda studying at a local institute was beaten and robbed. This is just another episode in a long chain of attacks on foreign students that happen in various Russian cities almost every day. Three months ago, Novyie Izvestia wrote that many young people having come from Africa and Asia to study are ready to leave Russia forever unless law enforcement here starts taking their security seriously. Since then, a large number of students, paying considerable money for their education, have left the country. However, it turned out that federal authorities consider the problem exaggerated in the minds of the public, and do not intend to take special measures to protect foreign students. “It only seems as though the number of attacks against foreign citizens has increased, but in reality there are fewer of them,” a high-placed source in the Interior Ministry told Novyie Izvestia on conditions of anonymity. “The problem is that practically every incident involving a foreign student gets wide public resonance, and that’s why it seems there are so many.”
A number of embassies, however, would find that arguable. “We continuously remind our students that they are under a constant threat,” said a representative of the Indian embassy. “Every April we send out a special letter to schools and colleges where we warn about neo-Nazi aggression. Even in India they know about attacks on students, the press writes about it all the time. And that is why citizens of our country refuse to go to Russia. But a lot of students, despite their fear, still travel to Russia. Higher education is valued in India, especially medical education....” A representative at the Guinea-Bisau embassy said that the diplomats are also informed about frequent attacks on students, as well as the students themselves. Still, they inform newly arrived students of the danger. “We warn them, give them advice on how to act, not to go out late at night, avoid conflicts,” a source at the embassy said. “But what can a young person do if he is attacked by a whole crowd?” The Federal Education Agency, which advises foreign students, is aware of the problem, but talk about the issue with care. “We have no instructions on providing security to foreign students, and it is not our duty to inform them of any danger,” said international education vice director Viktor Petrenko. “This is the job of law enforcement authorities and embassies. After all, we can’t tell students that they’re going to get killed here. We only send out lists of necessary documents, medical information, and the amount of money they need to take with them.”
Education officials admit that regular attacks against students can provoke massive departures. “Many are already picking up their documents and asking to be transfered. So far, only to other cities. A majority of these requests are coming from Voronezh and Rostov,” said Petrenko. “However, apart from attacks, students’ decisions are also influenced by other factors. For example, after the fire at the International Friendship University many picked up their documents and returned to their home countries. But the number of people who want to study in Russia is not decreasing, if not increasing. Every year, foreign students bring about $200 million into Russia. And we have to admit that if there’s a massive withdrawal, this number will decrease. But right now this is not happening.” The State Duma also believes that so far the issue of providing security to foreign students has not reached the federal level. “There is a security problem with foreign students in separate regions, in Moscow and Voronezh, for example,” said Viktor Ilyukhin, deputy chairman of the parliamentary security committee. “But on a whole, there is no such problem in Russia. In Siberia, for example, guests are treated warmly, it’s calm there. So it’s not necessary to view students as a specific category needing special protection. All the problems should be resolved on a regional level.”
Although Voronezh has good grounds to be counted among the most dangerous cities for foreign students, while local racists and hooligans attack anyone from Africans to Chinese to French, Voronezh authorities have no realistic program for protecting them. Plans are very broad and are mostly words, while representatives in the mayor’s office and the police cannot name any measures to prevent attacks. No massive departure of students from Voronezh has yet been noticed. But two Chinese students who survived an attack by football hooligans said that they’re leaving for their vacation, and they don’t know if they’ll return to Voronezh or not. “Attacks against students in Rostov happen constantly. Only the police doesn’t care,” said Alex, a black student from Congo. “Recently skinheads broke into a dormitory of a medical university. They blocked the front door and beat up anyone who didn’t hide. We didn’t call the police – we know from experience that it’s useless.” However, the rector of the Rostov Medical University, Viktor Chernyshov, rushed to assure Novyie Izvestia that law enforcement authorities guard the dormitory. In response to that, the student laughed: “A policeman appeared only after the June 4 incident,” he said. “Before that, there was no one but a woman porter.” “We have documented complaints of racism from foreign students,” said a source at the local police precinct. “But you have to understand that we can’t put a policeman beneath every window.”
“When I was coming to Russia, I couldn’t imagine that just because my skin is black, I was someone’s enemy,” said Lamar Crawford, an African American from Pennsylvania who is studying Russian at the Volgograd State University. “I can’t say I’m afraid to study here. But it is scary to go out at night.” In Vladivostok, it’s usually Chinese and Japanese students that come under attack. In March of 2002, Japanese student Furakawa Takasi was found killed in his own apartment. Three days earlier, he had met three young people, who later killed him for his camera and lap top. After the incident, a part of the foreign students at the Far East State University picked up their things and went back home. The next year, the university experienced a shortage of students – many simply refused to come to Vladivostok. But one of the most dangerous places for foreign students is St. Petersburg. After the killing of Vietnamese student Wu An Tuan, his teacher, Natalia Rusakova, said that the attacks have been going on for years.
11/10/2005- One foreign student has been killed and two others injured in what appears to be a racially motivated attack in central Russia. Authorities say that a group of around 15 youths attacked the three foreign students at a sports complex in the city of Voronezh. Earlier this year, a human rights group warned that racism was growing at an alarming rate in Russia. Prosecutors have yet to indicate a motive for the latest attack. One of the students , a Peruvian national, was killed and the other two, from Spain, are in hospital with serious head injuries.
GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS AND MEMBERS OF CIVIL SOCIETY JOIN ROMANI FAMILIES(Czech Rep)
Threatened with Forced Eviction in Bohumin (ERRC Press release)
5/10/2005- A number of parties concerned at as-yet unchecked racial segregation in the field of housing in the Czech Republic yesterday spent the night in the flats of four families threatened with forcible expulsion from their homes in the northern Czech town of Bohumin.
The families concerned have been under threat of forced eviction since June, when municipal officials informed them that, following expiry on June 30 of their rental contracts to stay in a hostel for low-income and other poor families, they would have to move out, along with approximately 250 other inhabitants of the hostel. The majority of the persons affected are Romani. Until issued with eviction orders, they have been long-term legal tenants of the building. An appeal on behalf of the families by five non-governmental organizations including the ERRC, sent to Czech Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek on June 30, remains as yet unanswered and without any apparent effect.
Under intense pressure and harassment by municipal officials, most of the families have now left the building, despite having been provided with no reasonable alternative housing. Some have emigrated from the Czech Republic, having abandoned hope of a life with dignity in the country. The failure to secure the basic well-being of the persons concerned calls into question the Czech Republic's compliance with a number of its international law obligations. However, four families, including the family of Mrs. Renata Scukova, stayed on, and brought legal challenges against the evictions. Mrs. Scukova was moved to challenge the evictions after municipal officials urged her to separate from her husband Stefan so that she might move into a shelter for single mothers.
By way of retribution, the city of Bohumin has undertaken a number of arbitrary acts against the families, including engaging a private security company to guard the door of the hostel and to block anyone but persons living there including close family members from entering the building. For the services of this security company, the city of Bohumin has issued monthly bills to the families concerned. In July, this bill was 76,549 Czech crowns, or approximately 2580 Euro, to be divided among the families. Mrs. Scukova's family's share of this and other bills, only for the month of July, was 27,802 Czech crowns (approximately 940 Euro).
In addition, as a result of these measures, Mrs. Scukova, who previously was a fastidious rent- and utilities-payer, has now accrued approximately 110,000 Czech crowns of debt (approximately 3710 Euro). She and her family will not be eligible for social housing in the Czech Republic until this debt is repaid. She now must also endure the public humiliation of Bohumin municipal officials, who regularly call her a "non-payer" in the media, as part of efforts to garner public support for expelling her into homelessness. In so doing, local officials inflame anti-Romani sentiment, by encouraging existing widespread stereotypes of Roma abusing social benefits.
On September 15, a court in Karvina ruled against Mrs. Scukova's appeal against the eviction order, and gave her 15 days to move out. She will appeal the decision as soon as it is issued in writing. Along with 15 other persons, she remains in the hostel.
The threatened expulsion of these families from their housing is part of a dramatic expansion of efforts at racial segregation in the field of housing in the Czech Republic in recent years, a problem of which the Czech government is aware. The Czech government informed the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in 2002 that, "Although the Czech Republic has been systematically striving to prevent all forms of racial segregation, some municipalities have adopted, within their separate competencies, certain measures whose consequences show some symptoms of segregation." Despite this fact, as of 2002, "No changes occurred in the housing legislation concerning protection against discrimination. Housing laws still lack non-discrimination provisions, even the declaratory ones. Prohibition of discrimination is not stipulated even in the laws and regulations applying to the allocation, renting, privatization or sale of municipal apartments." This situation remains true today, and no government programme exists to reverse racial segregation in the field of housing.
As a result, a number of concerned parties have come to the assistance of Mrs. Scukova and the other Romani families threatened with eviction in Bohumin. In the night of October 4, persons including the Czech government's Commissioner for Human Rights Mr. Svatopluk Karasek and members of his staff; Deputy Ombudsman Ms. Anna Sabatova; as well as members of the civil organisations Life Together, League of Human Rights and the European Roma Rights Centre, spent the night as guests of Mrs. Scukova and the other three families concerned, in flats in the hostel in Bohumin. The action was intended as a gesture of solidarity with these and other victims of racial segregation in the Czech Republic. It also aimed to bring public attention to this emergency.
The action "Guests of Mrs. Scukova" was not without opposition. Acting on the orders of municipal officials of Bohumin, security guards refused to allow the guests to enter the building including Mrs. Scukova's attorney, who requested to meet with her client in private. Despite an obvious breach of law, police refused to remove the seven security guards concerned in the evening hours of October 4. It was only after the intervention of the deputy director of police of the Northern Moravian region of the Czech Republic that security guards finally allowed Mrs. Scukova's guests and members of her close family to enter the building, four-and-a-half hours after they had first arrived.
Commenting in the Czech weekly Respekt on his reasons for undertaking the action, Life Together Director Kumar Vishwanathan said, "I decided to support them. I was thinking constantly of Mrs. Ratzova, who was expelled from a hostel in Slany in exactly the same circumstances two years ago. She then wandered around the whole country, searching in vain for some kind of accommodation. After four months, when she was at the end of her strength, she gave up her children into state care. Completely ruined, she moved in with her mother and her psychologically ill brother, who some time thereafter killed her. This woman lived a normal existence with her children, when there suddenly came a powerful assault on her life. She was kicked around like a balloon and then entirely abandoned. When I look at the situation in Bohumin now, I can't help but think of her."
Persons wishing to express concern at recent developments in Bohumin, as well as at housing segregation in the Czech Republic generally, are urged to address correspondence to:
From Jean Raymond, for Antifa-Net in Moscow October 2005
Russian president Vladimir Putin has designated the nationalist-revolutionary National Bolshevik Party (NBP) as the number one enemy of his regime after a ban on the party was lifted by the Supreme Court on 16 August. The NBP, led by provocative writer Edouard Limonov, made a strategic and tactical shift a few months ago by seeking joint activities with the Communist Party and even with liberals. The last example of this evolution is its support for the local elections candidature of the imprisoned former financial oligarch, Mikhail Khodorkovsky. In addition, NPB activists have multiplied the kind of direct actions that they began with their occupation of the health ministry offices in Moscow in August 2005. The change of line provoked a sharp response from the Putin administration as early as last December when police raided the party’s Moscow HQ, followed by a legal offensive in which seven party activists were jailed for five years for the health ministry invasion. Another thirty-nine will soon go on trial for their occupation of the presidential administration offices at the end of last year. The Putin-led offensive culminated with the now-overturned ban on the NBP. The Kremlin’s moves against the NBP have not, it seems, just been legal.
By Mara Vladimirova for Antifa-Net in Moscow October 2005
During the commemoration of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp in Poland in January this year, the website of the newspaper “Rus’ pravoslavnaya” (Orthodox Russia) published a petition signed by five hundred people (among them twenty State Duma deputies) appealing to the Prosecutor-General to launch a ban on all religious and ethnic Jewish organisations in Russia. The petition provoked disgust and criticism from Jewish and human rights groups. And president Vladimir Putin, speaking during the commemoration events at the Auschwitz death camp itself, publicly apologised to the world community and surviving ex-prisoners of the Nazi regime for the existence of antisemitism in Russia. Several days, later the “ban them all” petition was retracted but that was not the end of the story… In fact, on 21 March another petition – with the excruciatingly long-winded title “Appeal to the Prosecutor General of Russian Federation, Vladimir Ustinov, because of increasing use against Russian patriots of article 282 of the Criminal Code of Russian Federation (‘Stimulation of national hatred towards Jews’)” – was lodged at the Prosecutor General’s Office. The text of this petition, it turned out, was more or less the same as the January petition.
One difference, however, is that in the new petition the juridical demands were much better formulated, spearheaded with a request to the Prosecutor General’s Office to launch a probe into the Shulhan Arukh – a code of Jewish halachic law compiled the 16th century – to ascertain whether it consitutes racist incitement and anti-Russian material. The petition also urged the authorities to check the activities and structures of the two main Jewish umbrella groups in Russia, the Congress of Jewish Religious Organisations and Communities of Russia (KEROOR) and the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia (FEOR), which have published the Shulhan Arukh and use it in Jewish religious schools. Over 5,000 people signed this appeal, among them two leading figures in the Russian Orthodox Church and several editors of various nationalist newspapers in Russia, some of whom have been previously prosecuted for xenophobia and antisemitism. These include Igor Kolodezenko, Alexander Turik, Stanislav Terentjev and Boris Mironov. As soon as the petition appeared, activists from the “For human rights” movement lodged their own demand with the Prosecutor General for punishment of the petition’s authors under the anti-racist Article 282 of the Russian Criminal Code. Incredibly, the authorities actually complied with the demands of the “5,000” racists by carrying out an examination of the Shulhan Arukh, even if, on 11 June, Moscow District Prosecutor Sergei Ulyanov subsequently rejected the demand to ban the holy Jewish book. It was not the only thing that Ulyanov rejected, as he refused to open any investigation into those behind the petition. With reference to Michael Nazarov, one of the petition’s initiators, the Prosecutor’s office claimed there was no criminal act involved because “there was no direct incitement of hatred and no offence against ethnic or religious group”. This decision rendered Putin’s apology at Auschwitz almost worthless.
It should be added that the Prosecutor’s decisions were based on enquiries made by the director of an institute for preschool education, a psychologist with no expertise in history or the study of religion and culture. Though the psychologist looked at the expressions used by Nazarov in the petition, referring to “the morality of Jewish fascism” or claiming that the “aggression of Judaism is close to Satanism”, the Prosecutor concluded that the use of this florid antisemitic language was not enough reason to charge Nazarov for instigating national or racial hatred. At the same time, human rights activist Ruslan Linkov was told by the Prosecutor’s Office in St Petersburg that there was nothing offensive to Jews in Nazarov’s use of the word “Yid” and Nazarov himself boasted to journalists that the decisions of the Prosecutors in Moscow and St Petersburg were a victory for him. There is no doubt that the failure of the Prosecutors to look at what is staring them in the face will set off another wave of antisemitic propaganda in Russia. Nazarov, getting more brazen by the minute, demanded on 22 June, that the Moscow district court should charge three rabbis, Alexander Shajevich, Zinoviy Kogan and Berl Lazar, the President of the Russian Jewish Congress, Boris Slutzker and the Director of the Moscow Bureau of Human Rights, Alexander Brod, for offending his dignity and defaming his professional reputation.
In August, journalists revealed that, on 10 January, just four days before the first antisemitic petition, the Russian Constitutional Court received an appeal from one Vladimir Grjaznov urging that the Old Testament should be considered “a chauvinist and fascist document” and as “propaganda for the superiority of the Jewish nation”. Grjaznov went on to call for the forcible closure of all synagogues in Russia. This was not the first time he had lodged such an appeal. He did so in 2003 but both the Prosecutor General’s Office and the Constitutional Court ignored him. The antisemitic card is without a doubt being played by major political forces in Russia as politicians chase after votes. In the January petition, MPs from the Communist Party, the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia and the right-wing bloc Rodina all put their names down and these parties have not disowned those MPs who signed the petition. Indeed, Rodina in St Petersburg officially backed the January petition two months after its launch. The fact that 2005 began with a barbaric antisemitic petition has led to numerous acts of vandalism and aggression against Jews in Russia. On 14 January, the same day as the petition first appeared, a group of youths attacked a Jewish family and two rabbis travelling with their children on the Moscow underground. One of the rabbis was seriously injured. By the summer, violence really began to escalate and, in July, the People’s Patriotic Party of Russia held a meeting in Kursk, ironically the scene of the crushing defeat of Hitler’s Panzer armies in WW2, at which the main slogan was “Jews out!” Also in July, nationalist extremists from the Slavic Union burned Jewish literature, arranged before being lit, in the form of a swastika. Soon after, on 10 July, unknown arsonists torched a Jewish religious centre in Penza.
CAMPAIGNING IN POLANDíS PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION TURNED DIRTY
12/10/2005- Campaigning in Poland’s presidential election turned dirty Tuesday as conservative Lech Kaczynski’s Law and Justice (PiS) party attacked liberal front-runner Donald Tusk with charges that his grandfather fought in Hitler’s army. Tusk rejected the accusation outright, saying it "overstepped the bounds of decency." He was answering Kaczynski’s campaign chief Jacek Kurski, quoted by the weekly newspaper Angora as saying "serious sources in the Pomerania region (where Tusk hails from) say that Tusk’s grandfather volunteered for the Wehrmacht." WWII began when Nazi Germany invaded Poland on 1 September, 1939. On Sunday, Kaczynski finished a close second to Tusk in the first round of the presidential election and the run-off is set for 23 October.
Claim denied Tusk said both his grandfathers had fought in the Polish resistance during the war, and had spent part of the conflict in German concentration camps on Polish soil. "All those who raise a hand to smite the dead are not worthy of respect or power," Tusk said. Although his feelings had been badly hurt, he did not intend to return such "blows below the belt." But he did add that someone who "couldn’t control his own staff" should not be president of Poland. Kaczynski sought to distance himself from the accusations attributed by the weekly to his campaign manager. "I am not responsible for this type of campaigning, and I will pay the consequences of what was said," he told reporters. "I am going to apologise to Tusk," he said.
STOP THREATS AGAINST RELIGIOUS MINORITIES(Georgia)
1/10/2005- The Liberty Institute is alerting the international community on continued violations of religious freedoms in Georgia. According to the latest findings, increasingly more people are being attacked on religious grounds in Georgia. Authorities also continue to ignore or provoke violence occurring against religious minorities. For the past four months, the number of complaints from religious minorities has significantly grown, showing the inadequate attention given to this issue. The frequency of attacks on religious minorities temporarily decreased after March 2004, following the arrest of Basili Mkalavishvili, one of the leaders of the Orthodox extremist groups responsible for violent mob attacks. However, the number of aggressive attacks on religious grounds has increased by three times compared to last year’s figures, reported Georgia’s Public Defender. New Orthodox extremist organisations have also become active in Georgia. In July 2005, the Public Defender also stated law enforcers often do not respond according to the law when they receive reports on violent attacks against religious minorities. Recently, the house of the Pentacostal leader, Nikolai Kalutski became the target of aggressive attacks. A blockade, organised by the Society of the Perish of St. King David Agmashenebeli, mobilised up to 100 people to block the Pastor’s house in May 2005. The violence against religious minority communities is accompanied by the seizure of their preaching houses and churches, particularly against Catholics, Armenian Orthodox and Jehovah’s Witnesses.
23/9/2005- AC Sparta Praha must play their next UEFA Champions League home match behind partially closed doors as the result of the racist conduct of their fans during the Group B game against AFC Ajax in Prague on 14 September. The Czech club have also been fined €32,000 by UEFA's Control and Disciplinary Committee. The decision - which can be appealed against by midnight CET on Monday 26 September - will apply to Sparta's game against Arsenal FC on 18 October. Sectors H37 to H62, and D45 to D68, will be closed as the racist chanting was ascertained as coming from those areas. The UEFA delegate for the Sparta-Ajax match reported that home spectators made monkey chants on three occasions when Ajax forward Ryan Babel was in possession of the ball. Sparta admitted that hard-core supporters were responsible for the chants, adding that the club had done their utmost to convince those fans to cease racist actions. With respect to the organisation of games played behind partially closed doors, UEFA rules stipulate that no spectators are allowed to enter the closed sectors. The host club are not permitted to reduce the contingent of supporters or invited guests from the visiting side in an attempt to allocate more tickets to local fans. However, police, security personnel and people responsible for the stadium infrastructure are unaffected by the ruling.
RUSSIA: ARE SOCCER HOOLIGANS BEING USED BY KREMLIN?
Russian politicians' love affair with youth movements continues to deepen with the emergence of new youth groups seemingly every other month. Parallel with this trend has been a growing -- but less visible -- cooperation with soccer fan clubs.
19/9/2005- At the formal level, a Moscow city government committee approved a decree last week providing an estimated $3.5 billion rubles ($123 million) in 2006 for the creation of an association of fans of various sports clubs, the Civil Transition patriotic youth movement, and a youth TV channel. At an informal level, the pro-Kremlin youth movements Walking Together and its successor Nashi have been linked with various soccer fan clubs, whose members they reportedly use for security and other purposes.
Why soccer? One reason is that soccer attracts a young following, while politics in Russia does not. Most sociological research has shown over the past 10 years that less than 1 percent of Russian youth participate in public movements, according to "Profil" of 20 December 2004. With their courtship of soccer fan clubs, Russian political authorities may be stepping where earlier counterparts feared to tread. In the early 1980s, Soviet law-enforcement officials were so alarmed by the growing zeal of Russian soccer fans and their adoration of British soccer hooligans that they started to crack down on any emotional displays by audiences during games. According to "Novye izvestiya" on 15 April, during matches, fans were banned not only from chanting or singing songs, but even applauding too fervently. Young people wearing the scarves of the clubs they favored were immediately under suspicion by the law-enforcement agencies. The disintegration of the Soviet Union helped dampen any remaining passion for soccer until the mid-1990s, when fan clubs experienced a rebirth.
One of the first Russian political leaders to see the political possibilities for an alliance with soccer fans was Vladimir Zhirinovskii, head of Liberal Democratic Party of the Russia (LDPR). Speaking on the basis of anonymity, a young Moscow-based soccer hooligan identified only as Vasilii told "Komsomolskaya pravda" on 20 December 2004 that Zhirinovskii's team actively courted devotees of Dynamo Moscow. "They financed trips for out-of-town matches, published several fan books, paid for parties," Vasilii said. "LDPR figured that attracting Dynamo fans to their enterprise would raise their party's rating among youth." Vasilii said that LDPR never tried to use the fan club to provide security, although Walking Together did.
According to Vasilii, fans of CSKA (Central Sporting Club of the Army) participated for money in the riot that occurred in central Moscow in June 2002 following Russia's loss to Japan in the World Cup. The riot happened just before the first reading in the State Duma of the law on political extremism. "The media was full of talk about youth extremism. And suddenly before the second reading there was disorder on Manezh Square with attempt to break into the State Duma building," Vasilii said. "Who brings a sledgehammer to watch a soccer match?" -- Russian police officer
Of course, Vasilii, if he indeed exists, was speaking anonymously, but suspicions about the violence have been voiced from any variety of different people. Soon after the incident, Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov called the event a "well-planned escapade" and Communist legislator Vasilii Shandybin said that he believed the riot was a "specially planned action, timed to coincide with the Duma's discussion of the law on political extremism. "Izvestiya" on 11 June 2002 reported comments by a police officer, who was on the scene during the rioting, in which he wondered where rioters procured the sledgehammers and gasoline that they used to vandalize cars and storefronts. "Who brings a sledgehammer to watch a soccer match?" the unnamed officer said.
And suspicions persist two years later. In a talk show on Ekho Moskvy on 19 May, soccer trainer and player Aleksandr Shmurnov said he felt the incident "was to some measure a planned political action." "If it had only been about soccer, then it would have continued for 15 minutes and then everything would have dispersed or run out of steam." In an interview with "Izvestiya" on 8 September, Oleg Pilshchikov, director the Moscow city's Committee for Family and Youth Affairs, dismissed any possibility that Mayor Yurii Luzhkov's government wants to use soccer fans for any nefarious purpose. "There were suspicions that we are gathering soccer fanatics under our banner in order use them as fighters during the [upcoming] Moscow City Duma elections," he admitted. However, he explained that their goal is more innocent. "Our aim is to make every young Muscovite an active member of society," he said.
Meanwhile, officials from the Nashi youth movement and its predecessor, Walking Together, deny having any connection to soccer fans at all. Konstantin Lebedev, press secretary for Walking Together, told "Komsomolskaya pravda" in December 2004 that his organization "does not cooperate with any kind of fan grouping." However, Aleksei Mitrushin, leader of the CSKA fan group Gallant Steed, has been identified in a number of articles as the director of the northeast branch of Walking Together and as a Nashi coordinator ("Nezavisimaya gazeta" on 27 April, "Komsomolskaya pravda" on 14 March, and "Ekspert," on 5 September).
From its very beginning, stories about Nashi have been heavy with references to brawny soccer hooligans, and activists at competing organizations have been more than willing to name names. Sergei Shagrunov, head of the Motherland party's youth group ,and Vladimir Abel, a top official with the National Bolshevik Party (NBP), both identified Roman Verbitskii, the head of Spartak Moscow's Gladiator fan club, as the head of Nashi's regional-development department in articles in "Kommersant-Daily," "Moskovskii komsomolets," and "Vedomosti." "Ekspert" reported on 5 September that Verbitskii and another leader of the Gladiators, Vasilii Stepanov, aka Vasya the Killer, have attended meetings at the Kremlin with other Nashi members. However, Nashi press secretary Ivan Mostovich told "Kommersant-Daily" on 31 August that he does not know any Roman Verbitskii.
Despite these denials, media stories alleging a connection between soccer hooligans and Nashi continue to proliferate. Verbitskii's name in particular has featured in recent stories about a 29 August incident in central Moscow. About 30-40 masked men armed with baseball bats and some wearing symbols of the Nashi youth organization attacked members of the NBP, Avant-Garde Red Youth, and youth organizations from the Motherland and Communist parties. Aleksandr Averin, an NBP activist who was a victim in the incident, said he saw Verbitskii among the attackers. NBP official Abel told "Kommersant-Daily" on 31 August that this is not the first attack on the NBP in which Verbitskii has played a part. "Criminal charges involving a certain Roman Verbitskii have been filed in connection with three previous incidents," he said. The daily also cited an anonymous police source that Verbitskii was present at the attack.
So far, neither Verbitskii nor anyone else has been charged in this attack. Also, reports in gazeta.ru and "Novaya gazeta" this week suggested that they are not likely to be. Writing in "Novaya gazeta," No. 68, Yabloko youth-branch head Ilya Yashin, citing an anonymous police source, reported that presidential-administration official Nikita Ivanov visited the police station where the group of men suspected of taking part in the attack were being held and arranged for them to be quickly released without following regular police procedures. According to Yashin, Ivanov, 31, is nominally the deputy head of the administration for interregional and cultural relations with foreign countries at the presidential administration, but his department is in fact primarily concerned with youth policy and preventing an Orange Revolution. So far, only gazeta.ru has echoed Yashin's claims about Ivanov's activities that day, and Ivanov's office has declined to comment.
Oslo police will examine a security firm's control routines after a well-known neo-Nazi took part in the safety measures surrounding a royal appearance.
7/10/2005- Anti-racism magazine Monitor uncovered the scandal, which took place during Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit's appearance at a TV appeal to aid women victims of violence in underdeveloped nations, newspaper Dagsavisen reports.
Erling Alexander Kristoffersen, a high-profile extremist with a prior conviction for violence and a former leader of the neo-Nazi Boot Boys, managed to get a security job with the firm Prosec.
Kristoffersen, who stood watch outside the venue, the Jakob Cultural Church, currently fronts the web site for the group Nasjonal Motstand (National Resistance), which has an agenda of replacing the current government with a 'national alternative' and sending foreigners home.
Managing director Kenneth Isaksen at Prosec said that their hiring routines had let them down.
"We don't hire people with a criminal record in a security service. This person had only worked for us for eight hours, which was probably the reason why we had not managed to check his record with police. Originally he was not intended for security service and was fired immediately when we learned that he had a conviction and served prison time," Isaksen said.
Isaksen said that Kristoffersen had not had any direct responsibility for the royal couple's safety, but was supposed to prevent drug addicts and alcoholics from entering the church, and to watch a NRK (Norwegian Broadcasting) van parked in the area.
Morocco has sent the first of several planes full of illegal West African migrants to Senegal.
10/10/2005- The migrants accuse Morocco's security forces of ill-treating them. The flight with 140 migrants arrived from Oujda, near the Algerian border. Hundreds of migrants were dumped there after trying to enter or being expelled from Spanish enclaves in North Africa. Amid growing international concern, humanitarian groups have criticised Spain for expelling the migrants. Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos is visiting Morocco to discuss the crisis as it reviews its deportations policy. A government official in the Melilla enclave said no more deportations were planned at the moment. The aid agency, Medecins Sans Frontieres, said on Friday it had found more than 500 migrants abandoned by Moroccan police in the Sahara desert without food or water, some of whom had been illegally expelled by Spanish police.
Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos is to visit Morocco for talks on how to handle migrants seeking to enter Spain's North African enclaves.
10/10/2005- The Spanish government is reviewing its policy on deporting illegal migrants from Melilla and Ceuta back to Morocco amid mounting international concern. A government official in the Melilla enclave said no more deportations were planned at the moment. Humanitarian groups have criticised Spain for sending people back. Another plane full of illegal migrants from sub Saharan African left Melilla on Sunday, but it was bound for the Spanish mainland.
9/10/2005- Each year, Dyana Mason kicks off the summer with two road trips: one to Washington's black gay pride celebration in May and a second to its predominantly white June counterpart, Capital Pride. Mason, director of an advocacy group called Equality Virginia, is not alone. Through the fall, similar celebrations will unfold across the nation, underscoring a racial rift some say splinters gay America when a united front is needed most. National gay and lesbian groups are responding with marketing campaigns and old-fashioned schmoozing to win over minority gays, many of whom argue white activists want their votes on gay marriage and other national issues, but rarely include poverty, racism and other minority concerns on their agendas. "We have this rainbow of unity - 'We're all in it together,'" said Earl Fowlkes, president of the International Federation of Black Prides. "Truth be told, it's not that way." His group represents more than 23 annual black pride celebrations drawing thousands of black gays to New York, Chicago, Atlanta and other cities. Such culture-specific celebrations are on the rise as the face of gay America shifts from the white male stereotype. Roughly 4 million gay or lesbian adults live in the United States, according to the Gay and Lesbian Atlas, compiled by the Urban Institute. Among them are large groups of Hispanics and blacks; in Los Angeles, for example, the group found Hispanics lead 32 percent of all same-sex households. In the South, black gays head more than a quarter of gay households in South Carolina and Mississippi. The numbers say minorities are just as prevalent as whites. So why, then, do their faces number so few at national gay rights events? In 2000, the Human Rights Campaign set out to answer that question, surveying leaders in several communities of color across the country. "Their perceptions of us were rich, white male elitist organization with low investment in issues facing the multicultural community," recalled Donna Payne, senior diversity organizer with the HRC, the nation's largest gay rights advocacy organization. In addition to creating Payne's position, leaders began to showcase work by black, gay filmmakers in their Washington store, establish a gospel social and an outreach program to mentor gay youth at historically black colleges. Perhaps most importantly, top brass at the Human Rights Campaign began frequenting black pride parades and parties. "Overall, we understand that we have to be able to have room under the umbrella for everyone," Payne said. Despite the changes, frustrations linger. For one, Latinos shrink from organizations that think translating documents into Spanish is enough, said Noemi Perez, a Virginia activist who has worked with gays.
6/10/2005- The re-elected General Workers' Union president, Salvu Sammut, yesterday dedicated nearly half his speech at the congress to a fierce attack on illegal immigrants, claiming they were "taking jobs from Maltese workers". Mr Sammut said Malta may be forced to take measures which were not necessarily "just and humane" to solve the illegal immigration crisis. Alternattiva Demokratika chairman Harry Vassallo walked out of the congress as a sign of protest, later condemning Mr Sammut's comments as inflammatory and unacceptable coming from the president of the country's largest trade union. "First we had Maltese prostitutes, then we had Russian prostitutes and now we have immigrant prostitutes (prostituti klandestini) who earn double the minimum weekly wage of a Maltese worker," Mr Sammut said. "We cannot forget the dangers of undetected diseases which may spread among the population." Mr Sammut said one should not forget the frustration felt by the Maltese who see an illegal immigrant being given precedence at hospital. "It is understandable when an elderly person, a Gozitan or a person with a disability is given precedence over a Maltese person in a government department. But that an illegal immigrant is given precedence is not acceptable. This is fuelling fear and racist sentiment among people," Mr Sammut said. "The illegal immigration problem is becoming more acute and alarming and will suffocate us very soon."
Mr Sammut said the circumstances which Malta found itself in were not allowing its people to live up to their reputation as a generous nation. "The first illegal immigrant who landed in Malta was St Paul. At least he gave us a Christian culture and left after three months. But what good are modern illegal immigrants doing us? They need food, clothing, education and social services and they want to give birth to their races among us," Mr Sammut said. Reacting to the comments made by Mr Sammut, the AD chairman said a series of popular misconceptions about illegal immigration were being inflated by the extreme right-wing "lunatic" fringe. "It was impossible to remain and appear to approve in the slightest manner any report that may be made of a speech inflaming racial tension in the country. "In this situation everybody with a responsibility for leadership should strive to present the facts as they are and to address the challenges in a rational manner," Dr Vassallo said. It was therefore unacceptable that the president of the country's largest trade union addressing 700 delegates should claim that immigrants were taking Maltese workers' jobs, exposing the Maltese to undetected diseases and jumping the queue at hospital, Dr Vassallo said.
SLOVAK OFFICIALS RELEASE FALSE AND MISLEADING INFORMATION CONCERNING COERCIVE STERILISATION(Press release) ERRC Urges Prime Minister to Issue Prompt Correction and to Lead in Ensuring that Victims Receive Justice
4/10/2005‑ Acting in response to the publication by the Slovak General Prosecutor’s office of extremely misleading information concerning the coercive sterilisation of women – including Romani women ‑‑ in Slovakia, the ERRC yesterday sent a letter to Slovak Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda, urging him to undertake a number of matters including: (1) publicly correct the information issued by the Slovak General Prosecutor; (2) affirm that the Slovak government remains committed to justice for any and all identified victims; and (3) in light of the evident bad faith demonstrated by members of the Slovak Attorney General’s office, to demonstrate leadership in matters related to providing justice to victims of coercive sterilisation in Slovakia.
On 21 September 2004, the ERRC submitted, under a confidential complaint mechanism available before the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (“CEDAW Article 8 procedure”), details concerning procedures undertaken by Slovak medical officials with respect to 49 Romani women. This complaint included details of 22 cases of sterilisation performed without any form of consent; 23 cases of sterilisation in which consent to sterilisation was obtained by coercion; and four cases in which sterilisation had been performed following consent secured absent the provision of information regarding alternative contraceptive measures.In a communication of 1 August 2005, the CEDAW declined to conduct an Article 8 inquiry into the matter, primarily as a result of the entry into force, on 1 January 2005, of a new Act on Healthcare, including provisions to ensure “ethical medical practice as well as access to a patient’s file”.The CEDAW communication states, however, that while it would not at present conduct an inquiry into the matter, under the Article 8 procedure, “it remains concerned that there may have been individual cases of sterilisation of Roma women without consent or with consent obtained by coercion and that, within this context, the issues of responsibility and redress have so far not been sufficiently addressed.” The Committee further advised the Slovak government “to pursue and appropriate consideration of these questions”.This decision, issued confidentially to the ERRC and the Slovak Government has, in the week foregoing, been dramatically misrepresented by Slovak officials in public statements. In addition, the views of a number of European expert bodies which have expressed extreme concern at the actions of Slovak medical officials have also been misrepresented by Slovak officials. A summary of wrong, misleading or otherwise manipulative information disseminated by Slovak authorities and widely quoted in the Slovak media in the past week follows below:
According to the Slovak news agency SITA from September 29, 2005, Mr. Jozef Centes, Vice President of the Criminal Division of the Slovak Attorney‑General’s Office, made statements that “illegal sterilisation of Romani women has never happened in Slovakia” and claimed that the same conclusion had been reached by a UN Committee after examining the issue upon request submitted by the European Roma Rights Centre. The statements of Mr. Centes were welcomed, endorsed and repeated by a number of Slovak officials, and have been widely quoted in the media.As of October 3, the Internet website of the Slovak General Prosecutor’s Office included a news item,containing extensive misleading information on the issue, including for example the following: “The non‑existence of evidence of the crime of genocide has been affirmed also by an independent parliamentary survey by the Inter‑European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development (IEPFPD), Deputy Chair of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe for Social, Health and Family Affairs Christine McCafferty, as well as the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights Mr. Alvaro Gil‑Robles”.The statement of the Slovak General Prosecutor is formally correct solely because none of authorities listed, including the ERRC, have alleged the crime of genocide in Slovakia in connection with these practices. Indeed, the Slovak General Prosecutor opened investigation into the crime of genocide – which carries with it a very high burden of proof ‑‑ against the explicit recommendation of a number of parties, and apparently for the sole purpose of dismissing the claims.
In actual fact, every one of the officials listed above has expressed concern at practices of sterilisation of women carried out absent informed consent in Slovakia, as well as in particular the targeting of Romani women for coercive sterilisation.In one example of statements misrepresented by the Slovak General Prosecutor, in 2003, the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights Mr. Alvaro Gil‑Robles stated, following visits to Slovakia: “On the basis of the information contained in the reports referred to above, and that obtained during the visit, it can reasonably be assumed that sterilizations have taken place, particularly in eastern Slovakia, without informed consent. The information available to the Commissioner does not suggest that an active or organized Government policy of improper sterilizations has existed (at least since the end of the communist regime). However, the Slovak Government has, in the view of the Commissioner, an objective responsibility in the matter for failing to put in place adequate legislation and for failing to exercise appropriate supervision of sterilisation practices although allegations of improper sterilizations have been made throughout the 1990’s and early 2000.”The foregoing statement was reiterated in the High Commissioner’s Preliminary Report on the Human Rights Situation of Roma, Sinti and Travellers in Europe, dated May 4, 2005, to which was added the comment “I remain concerned that sufficient consideration has not, at least as yet, been given to the question of responsibility for the violations that have already occurred as well as providing redress for the victims”.The Commissioner further concluded that “The issue of sterilizations does not appear to concern exclusively one ethnic group of the Slovak population, nor does the question of their improper performance. It is likely that vulnerable individuals from various ethnic origins have, at some stage, been exposed to the risk of sterilization without proper consent. However, for a number of factors, which are developed throughout this report, the Commissioner is convinced that the Roma population of eastern Slovakia has been at particular risk.”
Similarly, an independent study mission of the Inter‑European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development (IEPFPD) after, as noted above, agreeing with all parties that the practices alleged likely did not amount to genocide, concluded, “Participants did find, that in most cases Romani woman were sterilized without sufficient information to make an informed consent. This is due to the fact, that hospital doctors do not consider it their duty to inform the woman, even when they should have realised that the patient has not attended prenatal care, where this information is supposed to be given and will also not attend post natal care. In cases of emergency the patient is also not informed. This is open to very strong criticism.”Since plausible documentation was first brought forward in 2003 that practices of coercive sterilisation of Romani women have recently taken place in Slovakia, high‑level Slovak authorities have repeatedly misled the Slovak public on the nature and dimensions of the issue. Indeed, Slovak authorities have even threatened prosecution of the authors of “Body and Soul: Forced Sterilization and Other Assaults on Roma Reproductive Freedom in Slovakia”, the first comprehensive study published on the matter. To date, although some Slovak officials have occasionally acknowledged the practice, justice has been denied to victims.
SERBIAN PRESIDENT BLASTS GOVERNMENT ON FIFTH ANNIVERSARY OF MILOSEVIC'S OUSTER
5/10/2005‑ Serbia's pro‑western president on Wednesday accused the Balkan republic's conservative government of betraying the ideals of a popular uprising that led to the ouster of former president Slobodan Milosevic exactly five years ago. Boris Tadic wrote in the Politika daily that the coalition cabinet of Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica was reviving "political violence" and "persecution of opponents" similar to the one that existed in Serbia during Milosevic's autocratic rule of more than a decade. "Hardly anyone in Serbia today has the right to be satisfied," Tadic said. "Everything that had burdened Serbia under the rule of Slobodan Milosevic is back again." Tadic's criticism of Kostunica illustrates the deep divisions that prevail among the leaders of the anti‑Milosevic coalition five years after the former president was toppled on Oct. 5, 2000. Back in 2000, Milosevic's attempt to annul Kostunica's triumph at a presidential vote drove hundreds of thousands of people to the streets of Belgrade and other Serbian cities, forcing him to concede defeat and step down. The pro‑democracy leaders, including Tadic and Kostunica, promised then to work together to bring Serbia out of isolation and economic misery left by Milosevic. But the key players soon split, with Kostunica drifting away from the liberals in the bloc. Years later, Kostunica faces fierce criticism from the former allies for his political alliance with Milosevic's Socialists and alleged support of the former president's warmongering policies. "Serbia's government has publicly denounced anti‑fascism ... while it tolerates public displays of racism, anti‑Semitism and ethnic hatred," a group of liberal politicians and intellectuals said in a statement Wednesday.
PARIS IMMIGRANTS ARE HARDEST HIT BY HOUSING CRISIS(France)
4/10/2005‑ The night has been cold but Rama Kanoute and her family will sleep outside again, crouched on a pile of mattresses, their belongings beside them. French police evicted Kanoute, her husband and two children last month from the run‑down apartment they squatted in for years but she has vowed to stay on the cobblestones in front of the house until Paris city authorities offer them a permanent home. "All I want is dignity, a place to live," said Kanoute, whose parents came from Senegal, a former French colony. Dozens of families of African origin have been expelled from Paris squats in the past few weeks. Anti‑racism groups say their expulsions show the difficult plight of immigrants and their descendants in France, where many live a half‑life on the fringes of society, discriminated against for jobs and housing because of their origins. In the past five months, fires in crowded and dilapidated Paris buildings have killed almost 50 people, many of them immigrants and children. The deaths shocked a city best known abroad for its spacious boulevards and historic monuments, lifted the lid on living conditions for immigrants and exposed a grave housing shortage. Conservative Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy called for squats and run‑down buildings to be closed after the fires. The ambitious Sarkozy, who is the government's No. 2, has also angered opposition parties with vows to get tough on immigration ‑‑ comments many see as an attempt to win over right‑wing voters in his bid to become president in 2007. Officials say Paris has about 60 unsafe squats and around 1,500 families live in apartments that are considered unhygienic. Many poor people say they have no choice. "Rather than staying outside with our children, we came in," Kanoute said. "The walls were damp and moldy. There was no electricity in the bathroom. I have been washing in the dark for years."
In 2004, there were 4.5 million immigrants aged over 18 in France, making up 9.6 percent of the population, according to the national statistics office INSEE. The interior ministry has said there are between 200,000 and 400,000 illegal immigrants in France, seen as a kind of "promised land" to unemployed youths in former African colonies. In Paris, more than 100,000 families, many immigrants, are waiting for permanent social housing, officials say. For now, they live with friends or stay in shabby hotels or squats. Rene Dutrey from Paris' Green party, which is a partner in the city government, says it is hard to say how many of these are foreigners but a majority of those living in unhygienic flats have an immigrant background. "They are the most vulnerable," he said. "They face discrimination on the private housing market because many landlords don't want black people. And they are discriminated against because they don't have the resources." Others say the discrimination extends to the job market. "Many immigrants are doing the work the French don't want," said Jean‑Pierre Dubois from the LDH human rights group. "They are more likely to take on short‑term contracts." In 2004, unemployment was at 9.9 percent, with about 28 percent of France's African population out of work, official data shows. "Immigrants more often hold no‑qualification jobs, which are most affected by unemployment," INSEE said in a study. Kanoute, who has lived in France all her life and works in a retirement home, said it did not surprise her that the main victims of the recent fires were immigrants. Two fires killed 24 people in derelict houses in Paris at the end of August. Twenty‑four people were also killed when a hotel housing immigrants went up in flames in Paris in April. "It's always Africans. Always, always, always," Kanoute said, watching her children play around their makeshift camp. "We are the ones who get up in the mornings to work in buildings ... It's African women cleaning up the mess of politicians in their offices in the morning. And at night, we come back to our derelict homes. Is that normal?"
4/10/2005‑ FOR 12 days during October the football world comes together in a united message against racism. Clubs, schools, local authorities and all Premiership, Championship and Coca Cola League clubs from across the country will be holding a variety of events in a national anti‑racism week of action to send out a message against racism and in celebration of diversity in the game. And in the Huddersfield Junior RCD League it is Westend and Space who will be supporting the week which runs from October 13 to 25. On Saturday, October 15, Westend are holding a `Westend Olympics' morning at their Salendine Nook High School home (9.00am). Players will be given a country to represent and will take part in a number of track and field events to determine the `Westend Olympic Champion'. The event is being sponsored by Latitude, the United Kingdom's leading search marketing specialist.
Latitude's Head of Marketing Jackie Danicki, said:
"Latitude work in an environment that is blind to the colour of people's skin, and therefore are pleased to be given the opportunity to support an organisation such as Westend, who play such an active role with the young people in our community."
Ricky Thwaites, chairman of Westend, was very pleased to receive financial backing for the event, and said:
"Since our formation in June 1991 Westend have never tolerated racism of any kind, and the marvellous support from Latitude for our `Olympics' will enable us to provide refreshments, badges, wristbands to all participants and prizes for the winners. The event will be organised by Richard Boustead, who has arranged similar highly successful events during his time coaching young footballers in the USA. Richard has recently returned to play for Westend's District League team and is one of the many ex‑Westend Juniors who are now playing every Saturday for the open age team. Ricky was quick to praise the men's open age squad, who have volunteered to help throughout the morning. "Most of them have come through the ranks at Westend and have been taught good values," he said. " I am very pleased to see that they are now putting something back into the club that gave them such a wonderful start to their football careers."
Space, who are coached by former District League and Emley player Milton Brown, are holding an Under 14 five‑a‑side tournament at Bradley Mills Sports ground, Barr Street, off Leeds Road, on Monday, October 24. During the day there will be displays and information celebrating the contribution to football of ethnic minorities and information on how to tackle racism in football. There will also be other attractions, including a penalty shootout competition, football quizzes and raffles. The event kicks off at 11.00am and cost of entry is £20.00 per team.
A gang of racist youths that targeted Asians and blacks in recent weeks has been arrested in southeast London ‑ a move welcomed by anti‑racism campaigners who, however, warned that such attacks were on the rise.
Why is the c‑word any less offensive than the n‑word? Campaigners are furious with Trevor Phillips for turning back the clock on racism.
5/10/2005‑ In a speech to a Conservative Party fringe meeting the Commission for Racial Equality chairman appeared to give the go‑ahead for white Britain to use the word 'coloured.' But in the week when a TV programme grappled with the word 'nigger' some are asking why it is any more acceptable to use the c‑word than the n‑word. In a made‑for‑the‑media speech Phillips told the Muslim Forum meeting: "Is it really offensive to call someone coloured?" As Phillips reopened the debate about whether it is acceptable to call people 'coloured' Channel 4 screened a programme in which Ashley Walters, known as Asher D in his So Solid days, explored the n‑word. Mr Walters began by admitting he used the word as a term of kinship with other black people, but as he began to understand the word's history and the effect it still has today he changed his mind.
Race experts are furious that Phillips has courted headlines with his comment about the word 'coloured' which, like the n‑word, is laden with negative connotations. The word is seen in some quarters as not merely a throwback to decades past, when racism was more even more explicit, but as an insulting term which divides communities. In southern Africa the word 'coloured' is applied only to mixed‑race communities who were encouraged by former white rulers to remain separate from, and feel superiority over, indigenous black people. The apartheid regimes of South Africa and Rhodesia guaranteed 'coloureds' second place in society above the black population. Today, while the c‑word is sometimes used to describe all African and African‑Caribbean peoples, it is also used to specifically describe those of mixed‑race.
Phillips speech will be particularly galling for those who have fought for years against words like 'half‑caste' and 'coloured' to assert their identity as being Black. Blink editor Lester Holloway said: "I am appalled that this word has been winched out of the ground, rotting and putrid, by Trevor Phillips. "It has a lot of baggage. Where it is used innocently, that innocence inevitably goes hand‑in‑hand with a lot of ignorance. "The word also takes us back years to an era when signs saying 'No Coloureds, No Irish, No Dogs' hung on windows. We should not allow Trevor to turn back the clock. If he likes the word 'coloured' and doesn't like the word 'multicultural' we have to wonder what's going on."
Lee Jasper, director of equalities for London mayor Ken Livingstone, said: "Trevor Phillips has got his facts wrong. All evidence points to the fact that Britain are becoming less, not more, segregated. "Any chair of the Commission for Racial Equality who does not know whether councils should print documents in several languages, or holy days like Yom Kippur should be respected, or whether 'coloured' is an appropriate term, should seriously consider whether he is in the right job." Phillips speech also attracted reservations from the Institute of Race Relations and the Muslim Council of Britain. Simon Woolley, head of Operation Black Vote, said: "Trevor's attempt to bring people together would ultimately have the opposite effect."
DEEPLY OFFENSIVE TO USE TERM ëCOLOREDí (uk, Press release)
Anti‑racist campaigners reply to Trevor Phillips: 'It is deeply offensive to use the term 'colored'
5/10/2005‑ The latest comments by the Chair of the Commission for Racial Equality at the Conservative Party conference caused anger and dismay amongst anti‑racist campaigners. His comments come at a time where racism and racist attacks are on the rise: since the bombings in London in July, there has been a recorded 600% rise in racist attacks, including murders and more recently, an opinion survey carried out by MORI for the Greater London Authority showed attitudes towards black communities and migrants shifting in a more rightwing direction of intolerance, although there is still a majority opinion in favour of outlawing religious discrimination for example (56% as opposed to 32% who said they would oppose such a ban).
Milena Buyum, Vice‑Chair of the National Assembly Against Racism said:
‘These comments send us back to a time when the idea of having a Commission for Racial Equality had to be fought for. It predates the Race Relations Act 1976, and harks of the pre American civil rights movement, when black people had to die to achieve equality and respect under the law. Trevor Phillips is simply wrong. Far from opening up a healthy debate, his comments o__er comfort to those on the right who already want to undermine gains made against racism, such as the anti‑discrimination legislation and the Lawrence Report. By sparking a debate on integration he negates the fact that places like London are succesful because of multiculturalism ‑ where difference is respected and celebrated ‑ and has been affirmed by successive polls of Londoners.'
Dr Richard Stone, advisor to the Lawrence Inquiry and President of the Jewish Council for Racial Equality said:
4/10/2005‑ Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel, says he's 'proud' of the tough position Austria staked out in crisis talks on the launch of negotiations with Turkey to join the European Union. Schuessel told Austrian state broadcaster ORF late Monday night that Austria succeeded in ensuring that all candidate countries ‑Turkey included‑ will be required to meet the same exacting conditions for EU entry. Austria had blocked the start of accession talks before finally withdrawing a demand that mostly Muslim Turkey settle for the possibility of something less than full EU membership. The alpine republic had faced fierce pressure from the EU's 24 other member states. Austria takes over the EU's rotating six‑month presidency on Jan. 1, raising questions about how Vienna will administer the bloc after alienating much of Europe with its unsuccessful attempt to scuttle the start of accession talks with Turkey. Allegations of resurgent racism and xenophobia hounded Austria, particularly after it pressed for the EU to open membership talks with Croatia ‑a fellow Roman Catholic country and longtime Balkan ally‑ at the same time it was casting aspersions on Turkey. On Monday, the EU also agreed to formally launch negotiations with Croatia. ``For Austrians, negotiating with Turkey and not with Croatia is like swearing at church,'''' the Belgian newspaper De Standaard wryly observed in a commentary on Tuesday. But Vice‑Chancellor Hubert Gorbach of the centrist Alliance for the Future of Austria, which shares power with Schuessel's center‑right Austrian People's Party, stood by the country's tough stance on Turkey.
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATED ON THE MARGINS OF SOCIETY(Greece, press release)
Foreigners shot on the border, asylum‑seekers detained in metal containers, Roma forcibly evicted from their homes in Athens ‑‑ these are some of the examples of consistent pattern of human rights violations, Amnesty International reveals in a report today.
5/10/2005‑ The report, Out of the spotlight: The rights of foreigners and minorities are still a grey area, highlights the failure of the Greek authorities to combat discrimination. "People living on the margins of society ‑‑ asylum‑seekers, migrants, Roma and members of other minorities ‑‑ are the most likely victims of discrimination in all its forms.Most often, their tormentors are representatives of the state," Olga Demetriou, Amnesty International's researcher on Greece, said. Amnesty International's report focuses specifically on the failure of the state to comply with international human rights law and standards regarding access to the asylum process, the detention of migrants and protection from discrimination and ill‑treatment. "Thousands of people from Albania, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and elsewhere come to Greece seeking refuge. Some are shot and killed on the border, others are charged with 'illegal entry' straight away and detained without having the chance to apply for refugee protection. The conditions of detention in particular areas of the country do not adhere to international law and standards," Olga Demetriou said. On the island of Chios the authorities have used a metal container to detain people. They have repeatedly detained others, including pregnant women and children, and failed to protect women and children who were victims of trafficking. Some migrants have been abused by police officers. Y.S., an Iraqi national of 24, who had been arrested and detained upon entry into Greece stated: “there is no phone here and I have not spoken to my parents since I came here... they do not know whether I am dead or alive... my mother has a heart problem, and I have not been able to phone and let her know... we have not died but I wish I had." He claimed that for the first month of his detention he slept on cardboard and that people in his dormitory room had "insects" on their skin.
The report documents the mechanisms that contribute to this failure and urges the Greek authorities to meet their obligations to respect, protect and fulfill the rights of marginalized people. Over the last two decades, Greece has rapidly transformed from a traditional emigration country to one attracting migrants, thus marking the border between the global south and the European Union. This rapid transformation has brought to the surface the inadequacies in the country's laws governing migration as well as in practices violating the human rights of refugees. Specifically, the Greece's legal framework fails to adhere to international human rights law and standards in two respects:
At no stage of the process does it provide for an independent review of a rejected application on the substance of the claim;
It lacks provisions explicitly safeguarding against the risk of refoulement.
Although there has been a sharp increase in the number of people seeking refuge, Greece has some of the lowest asylum application rates in Europe. At the same time it has some of the lowest refugee rates. According to a global overview of refugee populations in 2004 conducted by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Greece has the lowest rates of refugee recognition (0.3 per cent for the first nine months of the year) and granting of protection status (0.9 per cent) out of 148 countries considered.
"The rapid transformation of Greece into a country attracting migrants cannot be an excuse for its authorities to turn their back on the needs of refugees and to ignore their international obligations," Olga Demetriou said. Living also on the margins of society, Roma and other minority groups bear the brunt of direct or indirect discrimination. In Athens and Patras, Romani residents were forcibly evicted from their houses, taking on much of the financial burden of the resettlement themselves. Roma have also been the target of racist abuse, which in some cases the authorities have tended to overlook. Members of minorities have their rights to freedom of expression, religion and association violated due to gaps in national anti‑discrimination legislation, as well as the failure by the Greek authorities to adopt relevant international legislation and standards. "In the last few years the Greek authorities have admitted that they have not been effective enough in responding to the needs of migrants and minorities. This ineffectiveness is having a negative impact on the way these vulnerable groups are perceived and treated in the country. It is creating a climate for tolerance of racism and xenophobia within the wider Greek population," Olga Demetriou said. "Everybody in Greece, whether a member of the majority, the minorities or a refugee must enjoy the human rights to which they are entitled. It is the responsibility of the Greek authorities to make sure that this happens."
5/10/2005‑ At least 500 migrants launched a mass assault to break through the frontier border at Melilla. It is thought about 100 broke through and were arrested by police inside Spain's North African enclave. Thirteen suffered various minor injuries in the overnight assault. Two Guardia Civil officers were also hurt. The latest mass assault on the border defences came at Pinares de Rostrogordo, a point where the fence has not been strengthened. It came a day after authorities in Melilla announced they are to build a third fence to try to stop repeated mass assaults by migrants from Morocco. At present there are two 6m‑high razor‑wire fences, but they have not stopped hundreds of migrants breaking through. On Monday night, hundreds stormed the frontier in a fresh attempt to reach Europe. In what was the ninth mass assault of the past three months, a group of about 650 would‑be immigrants sought to force their way onto European Union soil. It is estimated that at least 350 reached their goal, while some 100 were detained by Moroccan security forces. More than 100 migrants and seven members of Spain's Civil Guard ‑ which has reinforced its presence along the 11‑kilometre (7‑mile) razor‑wire fence to thwart the continuous waves of border rushes ‑ were injured in the pre‑dawn assault. A delegation from European Commission is to visit Melilla to study the situation.
EU PUSHES FOR MOROCCO MIGRANT DEAL DESPITE SAFETY DOUBTS
7/10/2005‑ NGOs on Friday accused Moroccan authorities of dumping immigrants in the middle of the Sahara desert, while Brussels continues to put pressure on Rabat to sign‑up to an EU‑wide immigrant repatriation deal. A "technical mission" of EU officials flew to the Spanish enclaves of Melilla and Ceuta in North Africa on Friday to investigate illegal immigration patterns and evaluate the gravity of last week's clashes, which left 10 immigrants dead. A commission spokesman the same day reiterated that pressure is being put on Morocco to re‑admit Sub‑Saharan immigrants. But Brussels' comment came just as Medecins sans Frontieres announced that over 500 mostly Sub‑Saharan immigrants had been found "in bad shape" in the desert area of Auoina‑Souatar near the Morocco‑Algerian border, with the NGO claiming that they had been abndonoed there by the Moroccan authorities. Volunteers of another international NGO, SOS Racisme, said 24 immigrants, out of which many had previously applied for asylum in Spain, had died of thirst in similar circumstances. On top of this, Javier Sancho of Medecins sans Frontieres told EUobserver that several of the immigrants had "injuries of the kind that are inflicted by sticks or hits, or by the rubber batons used by Spanish border police".
Migrants contribute over $2 trillion (1.67 trillion euros) to their host countries' economies each year but are often mistreated, a study released Wednesday said. As a top destination, Germany benefits from them too.
6/10/2005‑ The roughly 200 million migrants worldwide were an important force for the world economy, the UN‑backed study by the Global Commission on International Migration, a 19‑member independent panel, showed. In addition to the trillions they spent in their host countries, they sent remittances of around $150 billion home, three times the amount the world officially devotes to developmental aid. An additional $300 billion may be transferred informally, the report added. "In the 21st century, one of our most important challenges is to find ways to manage migration for the benefit of all ‑‑ of sending countries, receiving countries, transit countries and migrants themselves," UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said at the launch of the report. "I agree with the commission that we are not rising to the challenge yet. But I am convinced we must do so," Reuters quoted Annan as saying. After the United States and Russia, Germany had the third greatest number of migrants, 7.3 million, 4.2 percent of the world's migrants, in 2000. Along with Belgium and Switzerland, the country also ranked third in the amount of remittances migrants send home: $8 billion in 2001. The same year Germany spent $5.68 billion on developmental aid.
Although the commission criticized the manner in which states treat migrants, it gave few detailed examples. It did though point out that the economies of industrial countries would collapse without foreign nurses, computer engineers or farm workers. "If information percolated throughout economies, people would stop moaning about migrants taking away work," Mamphela Ramphele, a South African member of the commission and former senior World Bank official, said. Over the past 35 years, the number of migrants worldwide has grown from 72 million to 200 million, around 10 million of whom are refugees. From 1990 to 2000, international migration accounted for 56 percent of population growth in the developed world, compared with 3 percent in developing nations, the report noted. And the numbers continue to grow. "The expansion in the scale and scope of migration seems certain to continue for the foreseeable future and may well accelerate, due to the growing developmental, demographic and democratic disparities that exist between different regions of the world," the report said. "Migration is driven by some powerful economic, social and political forces, and states must acknowledge its reality." "The international community has failed to realize the full potential of international migration and has not risen to the many opportunities and challenges it represents," the report said. It called for a "comprehensive, coherent and global action framework" for UN member nations' migration policies.
Homophobia is rife in Kyrgyzstan with gay women particularly susceptible to discrimination.
By Gulnura Toralieva, regular contributor to IWPR’s Women’s Perspectives and Reporting Central Asia.
6/10/2005‑ It was an unpleasant incident at a Bishkek cafe that helped convince Sasha Kim that Kyrgyz lesbians had been silent for too long. She was among several women ordered out of the cafe when two of their number were spotted by the other patrons exchanging a kiss. They were told the restaurant was a “respectable establishment” and no place for gays and lesbians. The confrontation infuriated Kim and sparked the creation of Labris – an activist group for lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people. It is the first of its kind in Central Asia, telling lesbians about their rights, offering training sessions, showing films and simply offering support. “After this incident, when we were thrown out of the cafe like dogs, we decided to gather together and create an organisation which could protect our rights, the rights of lesbians,” said Kim, a fifth‑year university student. In this conservative country, the women of Labris say they face discrimination on all fronts – at home, at work and at university. Kim, who is studying law, was threatened with expulsion from her university if she defended the dissertation she’d written on the problems of legal regulation of sexual minorities in Kyrgyzstan. “I had to write another paper in one night,” she said, adding attitudes towards lesbians have remained unchanged since the March revolution. “Our problems were ignored by the government in the past, and it continues to ignore them. But we are not unhappy about this. The most important thing is that they do not hinder us. We don’t expect anything from them and do not link any of our hopes with them.” Sveta, another Labris leader, was recently refused a job, because she is gay. “They said that I could ruin the image of the organisation,” said Sveta who asked her real name not be used. “Although I was an ideal candidate for this position, I was not employed in this job. “The worst thing is that we do not even have the right to take them to court, because according to our legislation, this is only possible if a person was discriminated against because of their gender, nationality or age, but the reason of belonging to a sexual minority is not included.” Other Labris members, particularly those sporting short hair or masculine clothes, tell of open hostility and their fear of homophobic attacks. “We are called the most indecent words on the street,” said Vika. “Over the last half year, if I am not mistaken, there have already been three cases when girls were beaten on the street.” The women insist it is useless to complain to the police, many of whom have little sympathy for homosexuals.
At a May round‑table discussion to mark International Day Against Homophobia, one invited representative of the internal affairs ministry said he would beat up a gay couple if he saw them holding hands in public. A representative of the Ombudsman’s office was more sympathetic, however, telling the assembled NGOs, human rights activists and government envoys that homosexuals are part of society and their rights should be protected. A delegate from the OSCE pointed out that Kyrgyzstan had signed numerous international conventions that required it to fight discrimination and abuses of human rights. One of the most serious problems faced by gay women – but one that seminars and legislation is unlikely to address ‑ is the reaction of family members to news of a homosexual daughter, sister or mother in their midst. Many like Sasha Kim’s mother will never accept a gay family member. “I remember that terrible day as if it had just happened,” said Kim, describing the conversation in which she came out to her mother. “My mother started shouting at me and crying violently. I will never forget her words, ‘Better you had been a prostitute or drug addict than a lesbian’.” Kim left home and eventually made gay friends, relieving the terrible loneliness that she had felt since first realising in high school that she was attracted to women. However, her own family still refuse to accept her “defect”, she said. “Now I occasionally visit my home. I have a wonderful girlfriend, and I am happy. But nevertheless, everyone feels sorry for me, and thinks that I am miserable, because I was born different. My mother has still not lost hope that I will come to my senses and find a man, get married and give birth to her grandchildren.” Especially problematic is the situation faced by ethnic Kyrgyz lesbians, who are particularly susceptible to discrimination by their families and wider society, and provoke the wrath of religious leaders.
Loma Yusur Yakubovich, the head of administration of the Islamic clergy in Kyrgyzstan, described homosexuality as a “great sin”. “Islam categorically does not accept these people,” he said. “It is haaram [forbidden]. It is also a disgrace for the family. Allah made all people as men or women. There should not be any other possibility. A woman who performs the role of a man is an anomaly, a psychological deviation. A normal woman should marry and give birth to children. If she chooses another path, then she is at the very least behaving amorally.” He suggested the burgeoning gay rights movement is simply a fad. “Our country wants to seem advanced and democratic. So now we have the opportunity even to fight for the rights of sexual minorities in a country where more than 90 per cent of the population is Muslim,” he said. “But I do not think that this is an achievement. We are on the contrary moving backwards. The main reason for the amoral behaviour of young people is the difficult socio‑economic situation.” Perhaps not surprising then that Erik Iriskulbekov’s Adilet legal aid centre seldom hears from lesbians who’ve suffered from bigotry. “Only once did someone come to us for help,” he said. “The other women who face discrimination have to put up with this, because by announcing their rights, they risk drawing even more aggression from society.” But there are bright spots on the horizon for Kyrgyzstan’s lesbian community. Gay men’s groups who’ve been campaigning for ten years now insist that attitudes are changing. Vladimir Tyupin from the Oasis youth foundation, which works to protect the rights of gay men, said his group now comes under less pressure from the authorities than in the past and is even expanding its activities to the more conservative south. “I think that lesbians will also be successful and they will be able to win people over,” he said. Despite the difficult times ahead, Labris members also remain hopeful that they will one day be accepted by Kyrgyz society. “If we were not certain that we could stand up for our rights, gain acceptance from society, love each other openly like everyone else, register our marriages legally and have families, we would not have gathered together to fight. This will take years, and perhaps several generations. But we have come out of the underground and have been the first to do so” said Sveta.
COE SEMINAR FOCUSES ON ìNON-DISCRIMINATION: A HUMAN RIGHTî
7/10/2005- The Council of Europe is organising a Seminar to mark the entry into force of Protocol No 12 to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) “Non-discrimination: a human right”, in Strasbourg on 11 October.
Its aim is to examine the challenges to the effective application of this Protocol – which sets out a general prohibition of discrimination - with a view to promoting further ratifications.
The seminar will focus on two topics:
-the Protocol’s scope of application : its relations with Article 14 of the ECHR and EU law, -the ratification process : national experiences, obstacles, prior measures (legislative and other).
It will also hear presentations on the experience of the United Nations Human Rights Committee, the existing case-law of the Court under Article 14, and the development of Protocol No. 12.
The seminar will bring together government representatives of the 46 Council of Europe member States and of observer States, judges of the European Court of Human Rights, members of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), and of the Parliamentary Assembly, academic experts and representatives of civil society, including NGOs active in the fight against discrimination, and national and international human rights institutions.
This meeting is open to the press and will take place in Room 5 (2nd Floor, Palais de l’Europe).