Governments must do more against racism: MEPs

15th June 2006, Comments 0 comments

15 June 2006, STRASBOURG - European Union lawmakers on Thursday said EU member states must strengthen and harmonize penalties for racist and homophobic violence.

15 June 2006

STRASBOURG - European Union lawmakers on Thursday said EU member states must strengthen and harmonize penalties for racist and homophobic violence.

Euro MPs warned of an increase in racist and homophobic attacks across Europe, condemning this year's racially-motivated assaults and killings in Belgium, France, Germany, Portugal and Poland.

While these events had been sparked by racist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic sentiments, "other direct and indirect forms of racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and homophobia persist inside and outside the EU," parliamentarians cautioned in a resolution.

Warning of racist attacks at the current World Cup football championships in Germany, Euro MPs urged German authorities to monitor, prosecute and punish those responsible for racist offences.

The parliament also called on national governments to implement the EU's anti-discrimination rules, adding that the European Commission should take legal action against member states that fail to do so.

Existing legal measures on combating racism and xenophobia must be extended to "homophobic, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic and other types of offences motivated by phobia or hatred based on ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, religion or other irrational grounds," Euro MPs said.

Parliamentarians condemned the Russian authorities for banning the country's first gay pride parade in Moscow in March and for failing to ensure safety and security of demonstrators and human rights activists who protested against the official ban.

The EU must raise the issue of human rights at next month's summit of leaders from the Group of Eight (G8) industrial nations in St. Petersburg, Euro MPs demanded.

"Political figures at European, national and regional level have a responsibility to set a good example by promoting tolerance, understanding, respect and peaceful coexistence," deputies said.

Parliamentarians also highlighted a "general rise in racist, xenophobic, anti-Semitic and homophobic intolerance in Poland."

The country is witnessing rising support for extremist parties "with a clear xenophobic, racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic agenda, some of which have recently acceded to government in Poland," they added.

DPA

Subject: German news

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