Europe's New Racism: Causes, Manifestations, and Solutions

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THE ROLE OF INTERNATIONAL LAW

Natan Lerner

This article is based on a paper submitted to the ‘Inter-University Conference on New Manifestations of Racism in twenty-first century Europe: Threats and Responses’ that took place in April 2000. The subject of the conference is strongly relevant to today's international life, not only in Europe. Governmental and nongovernmental responsible sources have been stressing, for several years, the threat involved in the evident rise of intolerance and violence against minorities and foreigners in several countries. The special dangers that xenophobia, racism and anti-Semitism imply have prompted the establishment, only a few days before the aforementioned Conference, of a European Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia.1 Already in 1993, the first Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe's member states had already expressed its alarm at ‘the present resurgence of racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism, the development of a climate of intolerance, the increase in acts of violence, notably against migrants and people of immigrant origin, and the degrading treatment and discriminatory practices accompanying them’.2

Since then, no improvement can be registered in this area. In October 2000, the member States of the Council of Europe held a special conference on the European contribution to the World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, to take place in 2001.3 The European Conference, convened under the heading ‘All different, all equal: from principle to practice’, adopted a Political Declaration and a series of General Conclusions.4 The Political Declaration, after expressing alarm at the ‘continued and

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