Resolution on Xenophobia and Discrimination in Europe, adopted by FIDH 37th Congress in Yerevan

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Resolution on Xenophobia and Discrimination in Europe

Presented by the Ligue Française des droits de l’Homme (LDH)

Meeting at its Congress in Yerevan from April 9 to 11, 2010, FIDH wishes to express its deep concern at the banalisation in Europe of political speeches and attitudes that are increasingly xenophobic and discriminatory.

The constant tightening of the laws on entry and residence of foreigners and the introduction into the political programmes, rather than migration policy measures, of measures which directly affect the rights of non-European nationals have resulted in manifestations of violence and situations of segregation, both unbearable.

This rejection extends to those who are described as Foreigners, even when they hold European nationality, because of their religious affiliation to Islam, which has become a basis for discriminatory practices, or even of discriminatory laws. Such laws have been adopted in Switzerland, or are still at the drafting stage, as in France and Belgium.

Islam is a religion rooted in European societies, and one cannot make Muslims second-class citizens, victims of hidden or avowed discrimination under various pretexts.

The 37th Congress of FIDH wishes to reiterate that the principle of freedom of conscience implies the freedom to believe or not, or to change belief and publicly express ones convictions; the only admissible limits are those which are essential for the proper functioning of a democratic society.

It is the responsibility of public authorities to devise democratic management of the growing diversity of European societies by guaranteeing equal treatment between religions historically established and the new cults.

Islam in Europe should, in turn, learn to live within a cultural and religious
pluralism largely marked by the increasing secularization of societies and to live by its own pluralism and confrontation to renewed theological questions, by the very fact of life in the diaspora.

It is also the responsibility of public authorities and civil societies to meet the challenge of the highly political struggle against all forms of discrimination and to take action in favour of social, economic and cultural promotion of populations that remain today largely excluded.

It is not acceptable to instrumentalise tens of millions of people, just because they are Muslim, to score political gains in the context of recurrent elections.
The only tool to fight inequalities and discrimination is the constant reference to international human rights law, in that it guarantees the principles of liberty, equality, including gender, and respect for individuals’ dignity.

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