CHAIR'S SUMMARY OF CONCLUSIONS
 
Based on the discussions at the Oslo Conference on “Right-wing Extremism and Hate Crime: Minorities under Pressure in Europe and Beyond” (14-15 May 2013), which brought together more than 150 representatives from over 25 European countries and 70 organisations, including the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the European Union and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, UN special rapporteurs and independent experts, members of national human rights institutions, academics, and representatives of civil society organisations and minority groups, we present the following summary of conclusions:
 
1. We reaffirm the universality, interdependence, indivisibility and interrelatedness of human rights as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Vienna Declaration and Program of Action, and as reflected in the international human rights conventions, particularly the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights;
 
2. We further reaffirm the UN Human Rights Council resolution 16/18 and resolution 22/6 on protecting human rights defenders, the Camden Principles on Freedom of Expression and Equality as well as the Rabat Plan of Action on the prohibition of advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence, which have provided a solid foundation on which to build a framework for addressing manifestations of hatred while protecting fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression;

 
3. We welcome the positive and necessary steps taken in all regions to address right-wing extremism, hate crime, hate speech and other forms of intolerance against minorities, including efforts to study, analyse and document such incidents, legal reforms, trust-building, public awareness and sensitivity campaigns, as well as the provision of support for activities aimed at protecting and promoting the fundamental rights of minorities, and to respond to hate speech with open and inclusive debates;
 
4. We express deep concern at the right-wing extremism, hate crime and hate speech directed towards minorities in Europe and beyond, and we are alarmed by the continued serious instances of derogatory stereotyping and stigmatisation of different minority groups, as well as programmes and agendas pursued by extremist groups aimed at creating and perpetuating negative stereotypes about minorities, in particular when ignored or even condoned by governments and political leaders;
 
5. We also express concern about the current situation in Europe, which remind us of the links between economic crisis, unemployment, and political and social instability, and we encourage States, when adopting coping-strategies, to enhance levels of trust and inclusiveness and to build upon broader definitions of identity, according to which, inter alia, political, ideological, cultural and/or religious affiliation would not be mutually exclusive, neither at the individual level nor as a community
 
6. States, international organisations and other stakeholders should take effective measures to address and combat hate crime, hate speech and other forms of intolerance. States should in this regard allocate adequate resources, as well as swiftly investigate and effectively sanction such incidents, and provide access to justice and the right to remedy when appropriate, while at the same time fulfilling their obligations under international human rights law to respect, protect and promote fundamental rights and freedoms, including protection against violence and discrimination, of all persons without distinction;
 
7. States should in a coherent manner enact legislation to combat and prevent intolerance, discrimination and violence against minorities, including through the Internet and social media, while at the same time safeguarding other fundamental rights, particularly the freedom of expression and opinion;
 
8. Any related legislation should be complemented by sustained and wide-ranging efforts to tackle the root causes and various facets of intolerance, especially in the educational field, as we recognise that the problems of right-wing extremism, discrimination and negative stereotyping of minorities are deeply rooted in socio-economic and political factors;
 
9. States should provide the mechanisms and institutions needed to guarantee the systematic and recurrent collection and analysis of standardised, comparable and comprehensive data on the nature, extent and trends, as well as challenges and opportunities pertaining to extremism, hate crime, hate speech and other forms of intolerance against minorities, in order to ensure informed public debates as well as decision- and policy-making based on sufficient and reliable information;
 
10. We call upon civil society organisations to contribute to the monitoring and reporting of incidents of discrimination and hate crime against minority groups, and to make use of their position to stand up and act as a voice for victims of hate crimes, through serving as intermediaries with the authorities, and providing practical assistance, such as legal advice, counselling and other services, while at the same time invite and meet opponents with tolerance and respect for democratic principles. States should provide the legal and political framework conducive for civil society organisations to carry out the afore mentioned activities;
 
11. We encourage States and other stakeholders to adopt positive and preventive measures, inter alia, by nurturing social consciousness, tolerance and understanding through education, training, social dialogue and awareness-raising about human rights, other cultures and religions, and the value of diversity:
a. States should, in cooperation with civil society actors and representatives of various minority groups, develop educational and awareness-raising programmes to inform the population at large about the situation of different minorities and their human rights, while at the same time strengthening the voice of members of minority groups;
b. States, national human rights institutions and civil society organisations should in consultation with different minority groups further encourage, support and facilitate intercultural and inter-religious dialogue, in order to foster mutual respect, trust and understanding;
c. States and other stakeholders should further promote media literacy and make use of the opportunities presented by the Internet and social media to promote equality, non-discrimination and respect for diversity;
d. States should encourage and support platforms for debate, partnerships and the dissemination of knowledge between policymakers, civil society organisations, media organisations and other relevant experts and stakeholders in order to facilitate cooperation on emerging issues and opportunities, as well as exchange of best practices;
 
12. We further encourage States and political leaders to demonstrate consistent and inclusive leadership, and to develop and implement national action plans to combat discrimination, hate crime and related forms of intolerance targeting minorities, as national action plans are vital in providing a comprehensive and transparent approach and roadmap regarding national-specific issues, while at the same time establishing benchmarks against which progress might be measured both nationally and regionally;
 
13. We call upon governments, politicians, national human rights institutions, civil society organisations and other stakeholders to engage in debate on these issues through all possible channels, and in a clear and consistent manner to publicly condemn manifestations of hate in public discourse and acts of violence based on bias, as well as to refrain from making discriminatory statements.
 
14. We recommend that all media, in enacting their moral and social responsibility, and through ethical journalism and self-regulation, play a role in combating discrimination and in promoting cross-cultural understanding, tolerance and acceptance of differences in communities, including by considering the following:
a. Taking care to report in context and in a factual and sensitive manner, while ensuring that acts of discrimination are brought to the attention of the public;
b. Being alert to the danger of discrimination or negative stereotypes of individuals and groups being furthered by the media;
c. Avoiding unnecessary references to nationality, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation and other group characteristics that may promote intolerance;
d. Raising awareness of the harm caused by discrimination and negative stereotyping;
e. Reporting on different groups or communities in a balanced and inclusive manner;
f. Strive to ensure inclusive media, in ownership and organisation, in order to reflect the diversity of the society they serve.

 
15. We further recommend regional and international coordination and cooperation in the search for new and more effective measures to counter right-wing extremism, hate crime, hate speech and other forms of intolerance, especially by;
a. Building on the good work of the Council of Europe, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and the European Union, and ensuring continued and enhanced engagement in this field through coordination and collaboration both between these regional organisations and with the United Nations;
b. Reaffirming the responsibility of the United Nations, particularly the UN Human Rights Council, including its Universal Periodic Review, the UN special rapporteurs and independent experts and the treaty bodies to address human rights violations against all persons, regardless of their perceived or real nationality, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity, religion or belief, or any other status.

 
16. We all share the goal of working together towards a world where no-one faces violence or discrimination on any ground, and we commend the willingness of all stakeholders to participate in the discussions to this end, and look forward to working with all parties in an open, including and transparent manner to take concrete and practical steps to address violence and discrimination against different minorities, and to help ensure that those who face violence and discrimination are treated with equal dignity and with the fundamental respect to which all human beings are entitled.

Oslo, 15 May 2013

 

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