Ministers’ Deputies
CM Documents

CM(2010)10 18 January 20101

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1077 Meeting, 24 February 2010
4 Human rights

4.4 European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) –
Abridged report of the 50th meeting (15-18 December 2009)

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Introduction

1. The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) held its 50th plenary meeting in Strasbourg (Agora Building) from 15 to 18 December 2009, with Ms Eva Smith Asmussen (member in respect of Denmark) in the Chair.

2. The agenda, as adopted, appears in Appendix I.

3. This abridged report contains a list of the items discussed and decisions taken at the meeting.

Item 1: Opening of the meeting

4. See introduction.

Item 2: Adoption of the agenda

5. See introduction.

Item 3: Communication by the Secretariat

6. The Secretariat provided ECRI with information on recent developments within the Council of Europe of relevance to its work.

Item 4: Elections

7. ECRI held elections to the posts of Chair, two Vice-Chairs and three Bureau members. The elections were held in accordance with Articles 6 and 7 of ECRI’s Rules of Procedure. The following persons were elected:

- Chair: Mr Nils Muiznieks (member in respect of Latvia), elected for two years,
- 1st Vice-Chair: Mr Christian Åhlund (member in respect of Sweden), elected for one year,
- 2nd Vice-Chair: Ms Vasilika Hysi (member in respect of Albania), elected for one year,
- Member of the Bureau: Mr François Sant’Angelo (member in respect of Belgium), elected for two years,
- Member of the Bureau: Ms Eva Smith Asmussen (member in respect of Denmark), elected for two years,
- Member of the Bureau: Mr Jean-Charles Sacotte (member in respect of Monaco), elected for two years.

Their terms of office begin on 1 January 2010.

The member of the Bureau whose term of office has not expired is Mr Stelios Perrakis (member in respect of Greece), elected for two years as from 1 January 2009.

Item 5: Fourth round of country-by-country monitoring work

8. On the basis of Secretariat memorandum CRI(2009)35, ECRI was given a progress report on the fourth round of country-by-country monitoring. ECRI decided to examine the preliminary draft report on Turkey during its next plenary meeting (28-30 April 2010). ECRI decided to postpone the visit to Italy until the second semester of 2010 and the visit to the Russian Federation until 2011. It also decided that CBC 3 would work on Serbia. It also adopted the proposals contained in document CRI(2009)42 on how to monitor the interim follow-up recommendations made in its fourth-round country-by-country monitoring reports.

Item 6: Adoption of draft country-by-country reports

9. ECRI examined the preliminary draft country-by-country fourth round monitoring reports on France, Georgia, Poland and “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”.

10. In accordance with the country-by-country monitoring procedure, the above-mentioned draft reports, as prepared at the present meeting, will be transmitted by the Chair of ECRI to the Permanent Representatives of the member states concerned for confidential dialogue with the competent authorities. ECRI’s Secretariat will also forward a copy of the draft reports directly to the national liaison officers who are based in the countries concerned and via whom the confidential dialogue will be conducted.

Item 7: Adoption of final country-by-country reports

11. ECRI examined the fourth round country-by-country monitoring reports on Albania, Austria, Estonia and the United Kingdom that had been the subject of a dialogue with the relevant national liaison officers and which were now submitted to ECRI for final adoption.

12. ECRI adopted the final reports on Albania, Austria, Estonia and the United Kingdom. These texts are reproduced respectively in documents CM(2010)10 add1, CM(2010)10 add2, CM(2010)10 add and CM(2010)10 add4. As agreed by the Ministers' Deputies at their 986th meeting (7 February 2007), these reports will be transmitted by ECRI to the governments of the member states in question through the intermediary of the Committee of Ministers and will be made public, unless the governments concerned are expressly against making these texts public.

Item 8: Combating anti-Gypsyism

13. ECRI was informed of the results of the second meeting of its Working Group on Combating Anti-Gypsyism, held in Paris on 18 September 2009. It approved the proposal of the Group to prepare a new General Policy Recommendation on combating anti-Gypsyism and instructed the Group to begin work on drafting this text in the new year.

Item 9: Combating racism and racial discrimination in employment

14. ECRI was informed of the work accomplished so far by the Working Group on Combating racism and racial discrimination in employment. It instructed the Group to pursue its work on this matter.

Item 10: Study on the impact of the economic crisis on racism and racial discrimination

15. ECRI took note of the preliminary draft study on the impact of the economic crisis on racism and racial discrimination drawn up by a consultant and instructed the Working Group on Relations with civil society to deal with this matter and report back to the plenary in due course.

Item 11: Relations with civil society

16. ECRI was informed about the implementation of its programme of action on relations with civil society. It took note of the results the National Round Table in Hungary, which was held in Budapest on 16 November 2009. It decided that the next National Round Table should take place in Germany. ECRI adopted the proposals contained in document CRI(2009)41 on press conferences and releases.

Item 12: Co-operation with UN, OSCE and EU bodies active in the fight against racism and intolerance

17. ECRI was informed as to the development of its co-operation with the other European and international bodies active in the fight against racism and racial discrimination.

Item 13: Co-operation with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe

18. ECRI was informed about the exchange of views held between the Monitoring Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly and ECRI’s Vice-Chair, Mr Nils Muiznieks, in Paris on 18 November 2009, and decided to co-operate on a more regular basis with the Monitoring Committee.

Item 14: Discussion with former Chairs

19. ECRI held an exchange of views with its former Chairs.

Item 15: Discussion with the Secretary General

20. The Secretary General presented his priorities for the work of the Council of Europe and held an exchange of views with ECRI on issues related to its terms of reference.

Item 16: Timetable for future work

21. ECRI decided on the timetable of its forthcoming meetings, as contained in Appendix II to this abridged meeting report.

Item 17: Other business

22. ECRI took note of the statement on the ban on the construction of minarets in Switzerland drawn up on its behalf by the Bureau and published on 1 December 2009 in accordance with the procedure approved by ECRI at its 41st meeting on 12-15 December 2006. The statement is reproduced in Appendix III to this abridged meeting report.

23. ECRI was informed that the intended date of publication of the final country-by-country reports adopted at this meeting (on Albania, Austria, Estonia and the United Kingdom) is 2 March 2010.

Appendix I

Agenda

1. Opening of the meeting

2. Adoption of the agenda

3. Communication by the Secretariat

4. Elections

5. Fourth round of country-by-country monitoring work

6. Adoption of draft country-by-country reports

7. Adoption of final country-by-country reports

8. Combating anti-Gypsyism

9. Combating racism and racial discrimination in employment

10. Study on the impact of the economic crisis on racism and racial discrimination

11. Relations with civil society

12. Co-operation with the UN, OSCE and EU bodies active in the field of combating racism and intolerance

13. Co-operation with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe

14. Discussion with former Chairs

15. Discussion with the Secretary General

16. Timetable for future work

17. Other business

Appendix II

Timetable of forthcoming meetings
(subject to budgetary possibilities)

Plenary meeting of ECRI:

- 51st plenary meeting: 28-30 April 2010
- 52nd plenary meeting: 22-25 June 2010
- 53rd plenary meeting: 7-10 December 2010

Meeting of the Bureau:

- 27 April 2010
- 21 June 2010
- 6 December 2010

Meetings of CBC groups:

- CBC 4: 21 January 2010
- CBC 6: 21 January 2010
- CBC 8: 11 January 2010
- CBC 9: 2 February 2010

Meeting of the working group on relations with civil society:

- 27 April 2010
- 21 June 2010
- 6 December 2010

Meeting of the working group on combating racism and racial discrimination in employment:

- 5 March 2010

Meeting of the working group on combating anti-Gypsyism:

- March 2010

National Round Table:

- Germany (May 2010)

Appendix III

Statement by the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance
on the ban of the construction of minarets in Switzerland

The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) wishes to express its deep concern about the results of the Swiss popular initiative which approved the inclusion, in the Federal Constitution, of a new provision banning the construction of minarets.

In its report on Switzerland published on 15 September 2009, ECRI clearly regretted that “an initiative that infringes human rights can be put to vote”. ECRI added that it “very much hoped that it would be rejected”.

The figure of 57.5% in favour of the ban, and the fact that the Federal Council’s and other key Swiss stakeholders’ call to vote against went unheeded, are difficult to reconcile with the efforts made to combat prejudice and discrimination in the country over the last years. This vote will result in discrimination against Muslims and infringe their freedom of religion. As ECRI has warned in its report, this risks creating further stigmatisation and racist prejudice against persons belonging to the Muslim community.

ECRI calls on the Swiss authorities to study carefully the consequences of this vote and do their utmost to find solutions that are in keeping with international human rights law. In the meantime, ECRI emphasises the urgent need for the Swiss authorities to follow-up on its recommendation “to pursue their efforts and dialogue with Muslim representatives”.

Note 1 This document has been classified restricted until examination by the Committee of Ministers.


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