Türk Delegeler Uyardı : İslâm ile Terörü Bir Tutmayın… (Tutanak-Verbatim)

Fight against extremism: achievements, deficiencies and failures

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THE PRESIDENT – The next item of business this morning is the debate on the report, “Fight against extremism: achievements, deficiencies and failures”, Document 12265, presented by Mr Agramunt Font de Mora on behalf of the Political Affairs Committee, followed by an opinion presented by Mr Marcenaro on behalf of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, Document 12337.

I remind you that the Assembly decided at its sitting yesterday morning to limit speaking time to four minutes.

To allow sufficient time for responses to the debate, for the replies on behalf of the committees, and for voting, we will have to interrupt the list of speakers in the debate at about 12.40 p.m.

Is that agreed to?

It is agreed to.

I call Mr Agramunt Font de Mora, rapporteur. You have 13 minutes in total.

Mr AGRAMUNT FONT DE MORA (Spain) thanked the President. He would be brief as it was important to hear the views of colleagues. The draft report was a revision of the text that had been discussed in December. The amendments proposed at that time had been made, and the Political Affairs Committee had been able to look at the report in detail. The current document was dated 19 May.

There were now three main types of extremist movement in Europe, and they were growing. The first group consisted of racist movements. The second group were Islamic fundamentalist movements, prepared to resort to violence to achieve political change. The third and final category consisted of extremist movements, which brought together foreign citizens who were not necessarily trying to damage their host countries per se, but who used the rights and freedoms available in Europe to promote extremist objectives in those countries and thereby destabilise the political situation by means of terrorism and guerrilla warfare. Some such movements had been listed as terrorist organisations by member states of the European Union, but they were able to dissolve and rename themselves. Member states of the Council of Europe were also confronted by movements calling for secession of parts of their territory in order to claim independence or join other states; some of these were prepared to use violence, such as Euskadi ta Askatasuna. The fight against extremism was a constant challenge for democracies, which had to abide by the rule of law and the principles of human rights. Some states had tried erecting complex legal structures but these had to be compatible with the standards of their constitutions and the principles of international instruments, including those of the Council of Europe.

States also had to fight extremist propaganda which relied on international networks, and stop its dissemination, for example on the Internet. They needed to deploy greater efforts to attack the root causes of terrorism, and collaborate with civil society to reduce its attractiveness and increase security and intelligence efforts while applying democratic controls. Some political parties had been dissolved, but this ought to be a last resort. The Venice Commission and the European Court had paid substantial attention to these issues. He highlighted that his report had also drawn on information from the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance, and the Commissioner for Human Rights.

Terrorism posed a true challenge to politicians who needed to contribute to efforts to introduce more ethics in politics. He asked the Assembly to promote the Charter of European Political Parties for a Non-Racist Society, signed in 2003. He urged the creation of ethics committees in political parties and parliaments which would be able to sanction members who had recourse to racist language. He thanked the committee’s secretariat and Mrs Sirtori-Milner who had worked closely on the report.

THE PRESIDENT – Thank you, Mr Agramunt Font de Mora. You have six minutes and 30 seconds remaining.

Unfortunately, none of the tellers drawn by lots is available at the appropriate time, so I will draw two more names by lot. Mr Martin Fronc, are you available at 5 o’clock? Very good.

Is Mr Predrag Sekulić here? He is not available – I am not surprised.

Is Naira Zohrabyan available to be a teller at 5 o’clock? No – again, I am not surprised.

I know that Tiny Kox has just come back from a hard mission, but he can do this as well. Mr Martin Fronc and Mr Tiny Kox have been drawn as tellers. They should go behind the President’s chair at 4.45 p.m.

I call Mr Marcenaro, the Rapporteur of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, to present the committee’s opinion. You have four minutes.

Mr POURGOURIDES (Cyprus) –Mr Marcenaro is not present in the Hemicycle, so I will say a few words on his behalf and present the opinion of the committee.

We fully support the excellent report produced by Mr Agramunt Font de Mora. We also support the draft resolution and recommendation. However, the committee wants to make some amendments to strengthen the draft resolution and recommendation. I understand that the Political Affairs Committee has accepted those amendments, for which we thank the committee and its rapporteur. I hope that colleagues will vote for our amendments, which will make the report even stronger by tackling all the important issues.

As we all know, throughout history, humanity has suffered many evils at the hands of extremists. The books of history are full of tales of horror and atrocities committed by extremists. We hoped that after two world wars things would have improved and that we would have got rid of the phenomenon of extremism, but it appears that that is not the case and that that phenomenon is still apparent across the world and in Europe in particular. We must give full support to Mr Agramunt Font de Mora’s proposals in an effort, as an Assembly, to find ways to deal with that problem satisfactorily. It is not easy to deal with that problem, but the proposals are a step in the right direction. They will help to improve the situation and contribute to a safer Europe with full respect for human rights and the rule of law.

THE PRESIDENT – Thank you. I call Mr MacShane to speak on behalf of the Socialist Group.

Mr MacSHANE (United Kingdom) – It is appropriate that we are discussing this important resolution and the excellent report by Mr Agramunt Font de Mora today, because we see in our Strasbourg paper, the Dernières Nouvelles d’Alsace, that there is an appeal by the mayor and leading personalities of this town of unity in Europe against racist and anti-Semitic attacks. For example, swastikas have been daubed on the houses of Jewish people, there has been the profanation of Islamic cemeteries and there have been other such assaults.

Yesterday, the President of Germany, Christian Wulff, pointed out that Muslims in Germany are as much citizens of Germany as Catholics, Protestants, atheists and Jews. It is time to address that deep problem. We have, perhaps, been so busy in recent years condemning the crimes of communism, we have not noticed the rise of 21st century fascism-lite.

Mr Agramunt Font de Mora’s report and the draft resolution are excellent. The report rightly focuses on outfits such as ETA. It also mentions the PKK. It might have added Hamas, which is identical to the PKK in that it aims to eliminate Jews in the area in which they live. Hamas also invites people to believe “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion”. The Hamas charter also includes other filthy anti-Semitic, anti-Jewish rhetoric. We could usefully add Hamas to the PKK, because the two organisations are almost identical. There is a reference to the People’s Mujahideen of Iran. I am glad that that reference has been included, although the People’s Mujahideen has nothing to do with the Council of Europe.

Across our parliaments, we are seeing the arrival of new extremist parties. In the case of the Swedish Democrats, there has been an obscene abuse of the word “democracy”. Mr Wilders from the Netherlands has turned up in Berlin to say that Germany is becoming a country filled with mosques and people who wear the veil or other Islamic garb.

The beast is back. We have religious extremism, and we have also witnessed the rise of identity politics and single-issue politics. Some people want to get rid of nuclear power; some are anti-American; some are anti-Muslim; and some are against the unity of their country, whether they are in Spain, northern Italy or northern Britain, which is sometimes known as Scotland. There is the idea that if there is a single thing on which people can agree, the world will be a better place. There is also Tea Party politics in America. I wonder whether electoral systems that involve pure proportional representation allow people to search their own identity politics instead of being obliged to come together in broader groups to find synthesis and priorities in politics.

I welcome the report and congratulate Mr Agramunt Font de Mora. I hope that the resolution is adopted. I also hope that in one, two or three years’ time the Council of Europe can meet in Strasbourg and the Jews can rest in peace in their cemeteries along with the Muslims. I hope that we can put an end to the extremism that disfigures our common Europe.

THE PRESIDENT – Thank you Mr MacShane. I call Mrs Brasseur who speaks on behalf of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe.

Mrs BRASSEUR (Luxembourg) said that there were many questions to answer in this debate, such as: “Where are we going?”; “What mistakes have we made?”; “Are we capable of developing and living in multicultural societies where individuals can flourish in accordance with their own identities?”; and “Why are we seeing a growth in extremist movements?” The Council of Europe had no answers to give and the field had been left open to extremists. Extremist politics was on the rise in many countries, including Austria, Belgium and the Netherlands. In Germany, comments had been made that a Germany full of mosques and veiled women was no longer the Germany of Goethe. It was unacceptable that people were promoting the view that some cultures were more worthy than others. In Germany, a democratically elected politician had claimed, in her book, that Germany was destroying itself, but she had not mentioned her theories about the genetic difference between races. It was worrying that such extremist views seemed to be supported by some sections of the population.

Speaking to the Council of Europe, Mr Westerwelle had raised similar concerns about the rise of extremism. The editor of Emma magazine, Alice Schwarzer, had written that Germany should have been prepared for such problems because these issues had appeared already in “Mein Kampf”. It was hard to predict extremism but it was clear what should be done. It was vital to fight extremist groups who used religion to support their views and who rejected rights that were fundamental to the Council of Europe. The rapporteurs were to be congratulated for their balanced and subtle, yet robust, report. Politicians had to act on the report’s recommendations in their own countries. The defence of human rights was vital, not only for current generations but for generations to come.

(Mr Moscoso del Prado, Vice-President of the Assembly, took the Chair in place of Mr Çavuşoğlu.)

THE PRESIDENT – Thank you, Mrs Brasseur. I call Mr Vyatkin who speaks on behalf of the European Democrat Group.

Mr VYATKIN (Russian Federation) thanked Mr Agramunt Font de Mora and Mr Marcenaro for their excellent report. The subjects covered in the report were very important for Europe, especially at a time when Europe was very open in terms of culture and information. Since the end of the most bloody war in European history, extremism had once again become a real threat. However, policy makers had not yet taken adequate action to combat extremism and the matter often became bogged down in arguments in assemblies like the Council of Europe. Many people could still remember the SS moving through Europe’s streets, yet there were some people in Europe who celebrated fascism and even regretted the outcome of the Nuremberg trials. Terrorist attacks in Moscow, Beslan, Istanbul, Madrid and London were all links in the same chain. It was unacceptable that representatives of extremist groups had appeared in democratic assemblies. For example, during the summer 2010 part-session of the Council of Europe, an extremist politician had been in the building of the Council of Europe. Policy makers needed to turn away from the politics of dual standards and reach agreement on the terminology of what was defined as extremism, and what was not. Such an agreement could serve to strengthen national legislation. It was inadmissible that extremists were moving freely through Europe, sowing hate and discord. A new, legally binding European agreement against extremism was needed. This would allow countries to create legislation that followed one single standard and this was the only way to combat the rise of extremism.

THE PRESIDENT – Thank you. I call Mr Ziuganov who speaks on behalf of the Group of the Unified European Left.

Mr ZIUGANOV (Russian Federation) said that he believed that the debate covered one of the most important questions of our time. However he did not want extremism to be reduced to an every-day occurrence. There was also financial extremism. One in four people in the world did not have enough to eat and had no clean drinking water. Those with money ruled as they always had done. It was important to remember both world wars during which Russia had sacrificed 27 million lives to defeat fascism.

Of the 200 countries who were suffering as part of the current crisis, only 12 had recovered, including China. There was no point complaining about communism as the Chinese system seemed to be effective. Maybe communism should be adopted more widely. It was important to remember that it was in Wall Street that the crisis had started.

It was necessary to fight for decent wages and pensions. Many left wing parties were accused of being extremist but there was popular support for better working conditions. In Russia, many people lived on €200 to €300 a month. This was poverty. In previous world crises, many countries had worked together to defeat fascism but there were new fascist parties forming, for example in Riga. There had been fights in the Moldovan and Russian Parliaments as a result of such developments. In Greece, there were strikes because the people did not want only the poor to suffer. Cutting jobs and pensions meant that it was not possible to “spend our way out of the crisis”. In the Caucasus, seven out of ten people were unemployed and this was a factor affecting the volume of violent crime. In addition to financial extremism, there was also psychological extremism. The exploitation of people and resources was something to regret. It was important to educate the next generation in order to prevent extremism.

THE PRESIDENT – Thank you, Mr Ziuganov. I call Mr Franken on behalf of the Group of the European People’s Party.

Mr FRANKEN (Netherlands) – I completely agree that the rapporteur and his co-workers are to be congratulated on drafting this resolution and recommendation, which are based on an excellent report that is well structured and well documented. We surely need an extensive description of the situation before us and an analysis of the challenges that governments face when deciding how to react to the dangers posed by the rise of extremist movements.

I want to draw the Assembly’s attention to a special concern when considering the possibilities for taking effective action against the real dangers that society faces. Our reactions must be appropriate; this must be adhered to very strictly. If our reactions are, in the eyes of a broad group of society, too weak, it will feed populist groups, and they will start to take aggressive or even illegal action which will lead to more and more extremist ideas. In turn, those will stimulate the group that took the initial actions that have already crossed the lines and borders prescribed by our constitutional and criminal laws. If our measures are too aggressive, governments themselves behave unlawfully because they are in conflict with the fundamental laws and freedoms of a free society – laws and freedoms that are guaranteed in particular in the European Convention on Human Rights.

Governments have recently talked of two ways of acting – working with police and intelligence bodies, and broadening the legal framework to give police and intelligence organs more and more extreme competences. However, if we broaden those competences, we must be aware that every new or extra competence that is given to intelligence and police authorities leaves a smaller space for the normal law-abiding good citizen – we are increasingly limiting the freedoms to which the normal law-abiding citizen is accustomed. We are on a slippery slope.

My question to the rapporteur is this: do you agree, and do you declare, that this resolution has to be read with the sense that governments must be thrifty in the provision of new competences to police and intelligence authorities? New competences should only be allowed when existing ones are clearly unsuccessful. The next step for a government, even when it is fighting against extremism, must be to take note of the fact that every limitation of fundamental freedoms needs to be based on a pressing social need and the burden that it places on the citizen must be appropriate.

THE PRESIDENT – Thank you, Mr Franken. The rapporteur will reply at the end of the debate, but does Mr Agramunt Font de Mora wish to respond to the debate so far?

Mr AGRAMUNT FONT DE MORA (Spain) thanked the President. He wanted to take a few seconds to respond to the five representatives of the political groups. He had some time at the end of the debate to respond to points but he wanted to thank the group representatives for their comments on the report.

THE PRESIDENT – Thank you, Mr Agramunt Font de Mora. I call Mr Rochebloine.

Mr ROCHEBLOINE (France) thanked the President. This discussion provided a salutary warning for the Assembly. It was important that politicians from all parts of the political spectrum expressed their support for democracy. In France, both right and left wing parties had expressed views that others had taken to be extremist. France had the republican pact. Extremists were recognisable because they did not support this pact. The values of the pact were close to the values of the Council of Europe.

Condemnation of extremism had little value if people did not try to recognise the reasons behind extremism. Freedoms, such as freedom of expression, could feel theoretical to those who felt powerless in regard to changes taking place around them. It was essential to end violence and murder but this was not the only element of the collective solution. The negation of history had be tackled but it should still be possible to bear witness to historical events and use them as pedagogical examples. It was important to restore the cultural and social conditions necessary to live side by side.

THE PRESIDENT – Thank you. I now call Mr Rouquet.

Mr ROUQUET (France) said that this discussion was a difficult one. The rise in extremism manifested itself on a daily basis and it was necessary to react but he had reservations about the actions taken by some European countries. A legal clampdown only legitimised the arguments of extremists. Right-wing parties taking up the arguments of the far right was not good. The far right played on the fears of the people and taking up the discourse of the far right legitimised it. Debate was preferable to prohibition. This was particularly true in France where hatred had been criminalised. Modern democracies had chosen not to use violence but instead to confront ideas. He was fully aware of the need to protect citizens against attacks but the best way to do this was not necessarily by prohibition. Education was important so that people could learn to live together without abandoning their own values. The recommendations in the report offered a better alternative to a legal clampdown. It was important to remember that moderation had been part of ancient Greek democracy. It was essential to maintain open discussion to challenge extremism.

THE PRESIDENT – Thank you. I call Mr Mota Amaral.

Mr MOTA AMARAL (Portugal) – Our Spanish colleague, Pedro Agramunt, has prepared a comprehensive and balanced report that gives the Assembly the opportunity for an interesting and meaningful debate. I join previous speakers in congratulating him and thank him for his outstanding contribution.

European societies are facing the challenge of extremism in several fields. Our modern democracies are optimistic and extend to every citizen an extensive area of human rights and fundamental freedoms. The report brings our attention to the fact that some groups are taking advantage of the instruments of freedom to promote extremism. Democracy is the rule of self-restraint in respecting other citizens’ freedoms and rights. On that basis, we must find a strong consensus on what is right and what is wrong. Extremism opposes those principles and attitudes.

Democratic states should not hesitate in defending freedoms and democracy by means of enacting adequate legislative provisions and implementing them with democratic authority, under the power of judicial courts. When fully democratic political institutions and forces that are hostages of a politically corrupt discourse fail to provide wise and effective solutions to problems and difficulties that are generally felt by citizens, there is a serious risk that extremist positions will begin to receive increased popular support. I am afraid that we are now observing that phenomenon in some of the Council of Europe member countries. Memories of the Second World War and its horrors seem to have faded away and it looks like terrible prejudice is coming back.

There is a constant need to work hard in order to prevent extremist ideas from igniting and flaring up in the midst of our societies. Avoiding social and political problems remaining unsolved for a long time, and allowing debate on any political position, are steps in the right direction. Education for citizenship should remain a major purpose.

Democratic principles and values, as well as practices, must be transmitted to the younger generation, first by means of displaying respectful behaviour. There is a lack of spiritual values in our societies. Uni-dimensionalism has been proven to impoverish every human being and our societies as well. Living together in peace and harmony becomes easier when we look to each other as brothers and sisters with a common origin, nature and purpose, which we indeed share. In certain environments, intolerance, xenophobia, racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and other such attitudes get their roots. I endorse the propositions presented by our rapporteur and urge the Assembly to vote in favour of them.

THE PRESIDENT – Thank you. Before we move to the next speaker, I remind you that the votes are in progress to elect the Secretary General of the Parliamentary Assembly and to elect the judges to the European Court of Human Rights in respect of Estonia and Greece.

I now call Mrs Zohrabyan.

Mrs ZOHRABYAN (Armenia) said that the report was one of the most important of the current session. It addressed a serious problem. She approved of the committee’s proposal for a self-regulating mechanism to discipline party members. However, xenophobia was state policy in some countries, such as in Azerbaijan where “Armenophobia” was policy and humans had been killed for being Armenian. It had also been found that half of young citizens believed the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict ought to be solved through a military solution alone. The consequences of xenophobia could be deadly. The death on 7 September of an Armenian child in a school yard was the product of teaching children animosity and hatred. The comments of the permanent representative of Azerbaijan to the United Nations Office at Geneva regarding the ability of Azeri diplomats with Armenian blood to serve Azerbaijan was also noteworthy. On 15 September an Azeri lawyer on the Nagorno-Karabakh case at the European Court had announced that refugees would be able to return, but there was no guarantee that returning refugees would not be harmed. Much remained to be done to implement the Charter of European Political Parties for a Non-Rascist Society signed in 2003.

THE PRESIDENT – Thank you, Mrs Zohrabyan. The next speaker is Mr Parfenov.

Mr PARFENOV (Russian Federation) said that the challenge of terrorism had not been properly tackled by the Council of Europe. Human rights were not truly upheld in Council of Europe member states, where life was threatened every day. The complex approach in the draft resolution was welcome because it was necessary to strengthen international dialogue and the consistency of immigration policy, and cut finance to extremist groups. It was important to differentiate between Islamic extremism and the Islamic religion. The two could not be reconciled. Islamophobia was a breeding ground for racism. His country had experienced great losses because of extremism and he appreciated the rapporteur’s empathy with Russian victims.

It was important to understand the causes of extremism and fight it. There was now a permanent committee on religious policy and a parliamentary committee investigating the Beslan massacre. There was a North Caucasus organisation tasked with understanding the root causes of extremism, and it was important to work together on this, or else Mr Zakayev would be sitting in the Council of Europe again, claiming to provide expertise on the North Caucasus. Instead, he needed to be brought to trial. Until finances were cut off from these groups, it would be impossible to stamp out extremism. The means to achieve results were known, but political will was needed to pool efforts and fight the scourge of terrorism.

THE PRESIDENT – Thank you, Mr Parfenov. The next speaker is Mr Konečný.

Mr KONEČNÝ (Austria) said that his support for the report was qualified, although he acknowledged the need to stand shoulder to shoulder on this issue. Terrorism and xenophobic political movements had been lumped together. They were different phenomena and the recommendations on each needed to be different. Terrorism had to be politically condemned, but combated by security bodies. He remembered that representatives of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation had become negotiating parties and the Workers Party of Kurdistan had become a party worth talking to under Öcalan. There was always a reason for such movements and it was necessary to look at these reasons, such as the desire for a Palestinian state. Islamophobia and Islamism were twins. Those who attacked political systems under the pretext of extremist views provided a breeding ground for those who wanted to make citizens live in fear and adopt laws on dress or on the building of mosques. It was necessary to deal with forces that were gradually eroding the values of the Council of Europe, not by integrating such views but by stamping them out.

THE PRESIDENT – Thank you. I call Mrs Marin.

Mrs MARIN (France) paid tribute to the report, which tackled the fundamental question of democracy: fighting against extremist ideologies. President Sarkozy had clearly emphasised, in his Grenoble speech, the urgent need to fight the rise of extremism and strengthen security. Security was the first human right and the President had made it the priority of the second half of his term, which she endorsed. The security of the person, protected by the state, was the first human right. Hobbes had commented on the right of the citizen to be protected from violence by the state. She decried those who criticised the legal clampdown. The development of extremism had to be cut down. Politicians were in the front line in their constituencies and saw the anger and exasperation caused by incivility. Extremist parties seemed to provide easy answers, but it was essential to defend the security of citizens to fight extremism and the dangerous attraction of extremist parties. She had been approached in a public meeting by a person who said that the degradation of living conditions had caused that person to turn to the extreme right wing, but whose faith had been renewed by the Grenoble speech. She referred to Article 4 of the “Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen” which said that one person’s freedom stopped where another’s began. The state had to defend citizens against the rise of extremism, and French moves had been courageous. It was essential to fight extremism in all its forms and renew the faith of citizens by renewing security.

THE PRESIDENT – Thank you. I call Mr Harangozó.

Mr HARANGOZÓ (Hungary) – Dear colleagues, first I should like to congratulate the rapporteur on his excellent report. In recent years there has been an increase in extreme poverty, social or deliberate exclusion, and regions with multiple disadvantages whose citizens cannot even be expected to have a common European awareness.

In recent years, the necessity to take action has not waned but has become even more urgent. A global financial crisis has swept Europe; the accompanying economic shake-up is once again severely affecting the most vulnerable social groups and, in my country, Roma in particular. The increasing and justified existential fears of the majority in society constitutes a fertile soil for hatred of minorities, for a discriminatory, exclusionary stance, and for scapegoating. This situation reinforces verbal exclusion, hate-speech and attempts at conflict resolution determined on an ethnic basis. Who has not heard the following: “If he’s a Gypsy, he doesn’t want to change his situation and prefers to steal rather than work”?

The leader of Jobbik, the far-right parliamentary party in Hungary, has said the following: “yet now only drastic interventions are capable of helping…We must produce an environment in which Gypsy people can return to a world of work, laws and education. And for those unwilling to do so, two alternatives remain: they can either choose to take advantage of the right of free movement granted by the European Union, and leave the country, because we will simply no longer put up with lifestyles dedicated to freeloading or criminality; or, there is always prison.”

Dear colleagues, the differences in living standards are extreme. The number of people living in extreme poverty is extremely high, and it is evident that extremism is growing. It is, of course, very important to take all the possible legal and political steps to roll back extremism, but it is at least as important to work for a much more balanced society. Initiatives focusing on solidarity, as well as on social and regional cohesion, are especially important these days. That is why we have to focus on, for example, the social economy, to reduce the effects of economic stratification on marginalised members of society, and provide honourable work in various forms, ranging from self-employment to work in social co-operatives, so that people can use the fruits of their labours to benefit the community.

The root cause of the problem is the fact that some people’s quality of life remains that of those in developing countries. That in turn intensifies the tendency to exclusion, and the tree of hatred bears the fruit of murderous acts. Force can be eliminated only by striking at its roots. Thank you for your attention.

THE PRESIDENT – Thank you. I call Mrs Schou.

Mrs SCHOU (Norway) – I thank the rapporteur, Mr Agramunt, for an important and timely report. We all witness different forms of extremism, and we all search for solutions. Extremism comes with many faces. Extremists tend to promote and carry out violence, racism and xenophobia. Violent methods create fear and insecurity, and they hinder the free exchange of opinions. Those methods can, as an ultimate consequence, constitute a threat to democracy.

We parliamentarians, who are members of delegations to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, have a certain responsibility. We need to promote ethics in politics and take action against behaviour that is incompatible with the core values of this Organisation.

In Norway, we have a tradition of openness and of bringing those problems to the surface instead of hiding them. I believe that through openness and dialogue, we are better prepared to address the root causes of extremism. We need to focus on preventive measures. We need to establish a society with room for everyone, where there are equal opportunities and the chance to participate. We need to establish a society where everybody feels valuable. The creation of a strong welfare state is crucial in that regard. Furthermore, we need to give priority to inter-cultural and inter-religious dialogue.

Terrorism is a form of extremism. The terrorist threat is generally low in Norway, but in the past few months there have been arrests, which caused concern and reminded us that terrorism can hit us all. It is important to prevent terrorist attacks through efficient and democratically established police methods. Furthermore, legislation must ensure that those responsible are brought to justice.

We need to remind ourselves that the fight against extremism and terrorism must be fought within the framework of international instruments and that legislation must comply with human rights. That is our obligation. We all agree that freedom of expression and freedom of assembly are fundamental rights in a democratic society. However, we cannot accept people or groups that take advantage of those rights and freedoms when their actions are incompatible with core human rights. That is our challenge.

Finally, I underline the importance of the work that the Group of Eminent Persons, which is chaired by Joschka Fischer, will carry out. Its mandate is to find answers to the current threats from intolerance and discrimination in Europe. I fully agreed with Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland when he said that the new challenges to security and stability in Europe appear to be not between but inside states. That is what we are debating today.

THE PRESIDENT – Thank you. I call Mr Jordi Xuclà i Costa.

Mr XUCLÀ i COSTA (Spain) thanked the President and congratulated the rapporteurs on their excellent report. The report discussed the fundamental ideals of the Council of Europe. It was important to remember the tragic events of the 20th century which had led to the creation of the Council of Europe. The Council had a duty to fight those extremist movements that sought to deny others the right to live in democracies under the rule of law. The report mentioned cases of terrorist activity in certain geographical regions of European member states but it should also be remembered that terrorism could affect anyone, anywhere. Terrorism had changed in its form in recent years and it was vital to fight terrorism, as well as the causes of terrorism, through democratic institutions. The report also discussed the xenophobic attitudes that could fuel extremism, as well as migration flows in Europe. In terms of migration, a policy of integration should be adopted rather than one of assimilation. Assimilation could be counter-productive. The religious beliefs and diversity of immigrant communities should be respected, but they should in turn show respect for the values of the host country. This approach was also supported by the values of the Council of Europe. It would be unfortunate to define multiculturalism as meaning that immigrant communities should remain in separate groups with no integration, as this could fuel xenophobia and extremism. The Council of Europe had to continue to work to strengthen its fundamental values in this respect.

THE PRESIDENT – Thank you. I call Mr Shaklein.

Mr SHAKLEIN (Russian Federation) said that extremism had become a reality throughout the modern world. Extremism and terrorism spread across borders and religions. Russia had been no exception, experiencing a three-fold increase in acts of terrorism in recent years. It was of particular concern that many of these crimes had been committed by young people involved in informal, extremist youth organisations. Inter-ethnic and inter-faith conflicts contributed to social tensions and this had been further exacerbated by the financial crisis and various vested interests seeking to provoke new conflicts. Russia already had a legal framework for tackling extremism, but it was very important to establish international legislation that could combat extremism on a wider scale. The report was very useful in this respect. It was particularly critical to establish an internationally binding mechanism to cut off financial support for extremist groups. The resolution arising from the report should also stress that extremism was increasingly prevalent among the younger generation. It would also be important to examine the role and responsibilities of the Internet and the media in all its forms. Extremism could only be tackled effectively by taking action at both national and international levels.

THE PRESIDENT – Thank you, Mr Shaklein. I call Mr Slutsky.

Mr SLUTSKY (Russian Federation) said that Mr Agramunt Font de Mora had been one of the most active members of the Council of Europe over the previous year and praised his integrity and honesty which had been demonstrated, yet again, with this report. Paragraph 3 of the draft resolution gave examples of terrorist acts but could have drawn on even more bloody instances. The report also highlighted particular factors that contributed to the growth of extremism in Europe, including cases where terrorist groups based themselves in one country but then undertook terrorist action in a neighbouring member state. The financing of extremist bodies was also a particular problem. One prominent concern was the case of Mr Zakayev. A warrant for his arrest had been issued in 2001 but he was now living freely in Great Britain where he was considered to be a politician. It was baffling that Mr Zakayev had been permitted access to the Council of Europe Assembly earlier in 2010. Mr Zakayev was a terrorist who was involved in many activities that sought to whip up discord to the detriment of the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation. Existing international legislation was not specific enough to prevent cases like this. It was important to remember the words of the author who, in his book analysing the rise of Hitler, had urged Europe to “be vigilant”. If terrorists were tolerated this would only lead to the rise of extremism. International legislation was necessary and all delegates should take Mr Agramunt Font De Mora’s report back to their national parliaments and seek to implement its provisions.

THE PRESIDENT – Thank you, Mr Slutsky. I call Mr Salles.

Mr SALLES (France) said that the report was well balanced and should be praised for extending the definition of extremism to go beyond political discourse. Political discourse could be dangerous, but it was not the only aspect of extremism which manifested itself in many current phenomena. It was essential to tackle the roots of xenophobia and racist discourse. Radical Islamic discourse, which was of course different to, and separate from Islam in general, fed on fear. Since 11 September 2001 radical Islamic discourse had been rising and could be viewed as a sea monster with many grasping tentacles feeding on fear. Islam was a religion of peace. It was one of the three religions of the book. The fight should be against religious extremism and not just against radical Islam. This was the way forward. Banning the full face veil in France was not intended to stigmatise Muslims but to support the core values of the Republic. It was a way of fighting positively against two kinds of extremism. It countered those who claimed the values of Islam were incompatible with French values and it also tackled religious extremism.

THE PRESIDENT – Thank you, Mr Salles. I call Mrs Durrieu.

Mrs DURRIEU (France) thanked the rapporteur for the excellent report. Extremism was about the rejection of European values. It was a threat to a peaceful existence. Populist groups found it easy to further extremism. The mayor of Strasbourg had recently spoken about attacks on Jewish graves. The Parliamentary Assembly itself was debating discrimination against Roma. She disagreed with some colleagues about some of the underlying causes of extremism, for example poverty. It was very important to understand these, though the end result was always ultimately the same. This was a debate that would be continued in France. Religious extremists could be considered more audible, for example over the issue of the burka. Some people might ask if religion and human rights were compatible. Looking to the past the answer might have been “no” but she was hopeful that in the future, the answer could be “yes” as long as society was based on secularity. One issue was how religious values were interpreted – for example the wearing of the burka was not mandatory in the Koran. It was important for everyone to agree that there could be no ethnically pure or superior society and to ensure dialogue.

THE PRESIDENT – Thank you, Mrs Durrieu. Mr Santini is not here so I call Ms Keaveney.

Ms KEAVENEY (Ireland)Gurbh maith agat.

This topic is central to the work of this Organisation, and I commend the rapporteur on the report. I come from a country that has a long history of people fighting against people living together, and rather than focusing on Islam, as some people do, our problem is much more based within and around the Christian religions.

In Ireland, we had a peace agreement that the island fully endorsed via a referendum and yet even this morning I woke to find out that we had had another bomb in Derry. I believe that no one was injured – from luck, rather than anything else – but at the very least many people will now be out of work because of the total destruction of many shops and businesses in the area.

I look at the word “extremist” and ask whether that word is appropriate. We have people whom we call “dissident republicans”, who are content to blow up people and businesses from their own background with the overall goal of securing a united Ireland. A group that thought of itself as republican was prepared back in January to blow up a Catholic Gaelic-speaking and Gaelic football-playing member of the new police force in the north of Ireland. Part of the new agreement was a change in policing and it has been evolving into something that is more representative of the entire community, and yet such a young man as Peadar Heffron was blown up last January in his car. Despite horrific injuries, he has continued to fight to live. I wish him, his wife, Fiona, and their entire family circle well in coming to terms with their new reality.

Surely these people who ignore the democratic views of the country as expressed in a referendum must be termed criminals and terrorists rather than merely being called extremists. We should not play around with words. If hate music and hate speech are dangerous, so too is not calling things what they are. To hear the word “republican” linked to people who do not want to acknowledge that there are people of differing backgrounds in their communities is an abuse of the language. Republics are made up of tolerance and acceptance of difference. Those who do not accept difference must explain how they see Ireland becoming a united country without “ethnic cleansing” – they seem to believe that a united Ireland will occur with the simultaneous disappearance of all those who have a different allegiance.

Hate speech – and we must not forget the even more effective subliminal use of hate music on our youths – can become part of the norm unless it is challenged at every turn. I am told that hate music is on the rise among our youth across Europe. This subject deserves a report, which perhaps we shall do ourselves in our committee.

Our report of last year, “History teaching in conflict and post-conflict areas”, was full of important recommendations and it addressed some of the issues covered by this report. There are people who are mature in age and convinced in their negativity, but it is our job to look to and protect the young people who are coming through. If we do not work hard to get the message of critical thinking, creativity, tolerance and respect understood by the young, we leave them open to being exploited by those negative “extremists”, as we have termed them.

It is vital that we continue to look back to those reports on this topic and continue to press the Committee of Ministers to implement the recommendations that have already been made. We must also look to this particular report because it, too, contains many important recommendations. For the future of our youth – to protect them from extremists or whatever we want to call them – I wish this report well.

Gurbh maith agaibh.

THE PRESIDENT – Thank you, Ms Keaveney. I call Mr Chernyshenko.

Mr CHERNYSHENKO (Russian Federation) said that, like the other speakers, he wanted to express his appreciation to the rapporteur for the excellent report. It contained a clear analysis of current trends and set out concrete measures to tackle extremism in Europe. This was a complex problem and took various forms. He did not intend to talk about all the different causes of extremism but he wanted to mention the major ones. He agreed with his colleague, Mr Ziuganov, that much extremism originated in economic circumstances, for example unemployment. The economic crisis was affecting workers. There needed to be social aid and health care. This would be one way of tackling extremism. Reducing social aid had a negative effect on the poorest section of society.

Xenophobia and racism were also part of extremism. He found it difficult to understand how countries which had suffered in the Second World War were seeing the rise of neo-Nazi groups. People seemed to have forgotten the terrible events of the Second World War. He drew the attention of the assembly to the events in Ukraine and the response of President Yanukovych. Islamic extremism was also a problem. This could be seen from the example of Ingushetia. He had seen a television report during which someone had claimed that 500 representatives of the public authorities had been killed. It was important to fight against extremism and ensure that the terrible events of the past did not happen again.

THE PRESIDENT – Thank you. I call Mrs Girardin.

Mrs GIRARDIN (France) said that she agreed the report was outstanding work and provided a useful focus for how to tackle extremism. Terrorism was like a hydra, and if left unchecked it spread throughout democracy. Extremism was the basis of totalitarianism. Hannah Ahrendt had stated that totalitarianism negated the individual. Any idea which minimised the rights of the individual could contain the seeds of extremism. It was important not to just take a security-based approach, but to use the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a bedrock against extremism. The weapons of extremism could not be used against it. For example, the use of torture by the United States. had not helped to resolve the conflict as it had served to legitimise the views of extremists.

There had been a drift in criminal law away from habeas corpus and in favour of the idea of security for all even when that idea conflicted with individual rights. Extremism was a serious threat that had to be tackled but the way to do this was to attack its roots, such as despair fed by social inequality. They must be worthy of the fight against extremism.

THE PRESIDENT – Thank you. I call Mr Lecoq.

Mr LECOQ (France) said that the report was excellent. It provided an opportunity to speak against a security-based approach to combating extremism. Recently French society had been based more on fear and there was more xenophobic rhetoric in society. There had been ten new Acts on security in France and another Bill was expected to be passed in the next few weeks. Public rhetoric supported this approach when the subject was discussed. It was easy for the public to become exasperated and for a caricatured view of the problem to be created. Republican values were important. The Council of Europe had been established to prevent the problems of the past. The debate was a chance to affirm this commitment.

Security rhetoric demonstrated that current security policy had failed. People were clamouring for public justice. Extremist rhetoric was a symptom of injustice and despair. Violence in the Middle East had its root cause in half a century of injustice. Radical Islam resulted from a sense of injustice. It was therefore essential to ensure decent living conditions and fight social injustice. Democracies needed to brandish their principles and social equity in response to extremism. Security rhetoric should not be legitimised. Modern democracies needed to proclaim that security rhetoric undermined the rule of law.

THE PRESIDENT – Thank you, Mr Lecoq.

Before we move to our next speaker, I would like to remind you that the vote is in progress to elect the Secretary General of the Parliamentary Assembly, as is the vote to elect judges to the European Court of Human Rights in respect of Estonia and Greece. The poll will close at 1 p.m. and reopen at 3 p.m. Those who have not yet voted may still do so by going to the area behind the President’s chair.

I call Mr Cebeci.

Mr CEBECİ (Turkey) – Thank you, Mr President. Dear colleagues, I would like to thank our colleague Mr Agramunt Font de Mora for his report on a highly pressing topic that is on the agenda of today’s Europe. As a truly pan-European forum, our Assembly is best-fitted to address that growing problem, which afflicts most member states of the Council of Europe. In that regard, I welcome Mr Agramunt Font de Mora’s report as a good basis for our discussion on that alarming issue.

Today’s European political and social scene has been tainted by extremism manifesting itself in various forms, such as racism, xenophobia, terrorism and religious extremism. Emerging in a multiplicity of forms, extremism has a complex character, and despite its multifaceted nature, all its forms have one thing in common: they all target the human rights and democratic values on which European societies stand. They do so by trying to divide our societies through stereotyping and the exploitation of ethnic, religious or social differences. Following the grave consequences of the recent economic crisis, and the growing social unrest that followed, extremist discourse now penetrates politics more easily, and extremist acts of violence have been on the rise.

Given that alarming situation, it is essential to identify, first and foremost, what is an extremist discourse or movement. I believe that our rapporteur has done a very good job of defining extremism and bringing to the fore the most striking extremist movements in today’s Europe. Representing a country that has suffered gravely from terrorism, I am particularly thankful to him for having correctly incorporated terrorism as a form of extremism by rightly referring to the PKK terrorist organisation.

That being said, the rapporteur could have gone a step further and widened the scope of religious extremism, instead of singling out only one form of it. We all acknowledge that, in today’s world, religious extremism can by no means be associated with one particular religion – that is, in most cases, Islam.

Mr Agramunt Font de Mora also laid out in his report a wide range of inspiring ideas and potential measures to fight extremism on all fronts. The Council of Europe has an impressive set of mechanisms and expertise with which it can react effectively to the challenge of growing extremism in Europe. Given its pan-European nature, the Council is indeed a great asset in our common fight against extremism in Europe and, even, beyond. I am confident that a co-ordinated and focused approach, steered by the Committee of Ministers, towards better and deeper co-operation among the Council’s relevant bodies could make a major difference in achieving the goal of fighting extremism.

I shall conclude with a caveat: the fight against extremism is essential, but it should be conducted with full respect for human rights, and it must never turn into a witch hunt. As our rapporteur points out in the report, the fight against Islamist extremist groups may inadvertently provoke the stigmatisation of Islam and lead to Islamophobia, so we must be very careful about that. Indeed, our Assembly stated in the resolution: “It is inadmissible to incite intolerance and sometimes even hatred against Muslims.” It falls to our governments and respective parliaments to reject political statements and decisions that provoke fear and hatred of Muslims and Islam.

THE PRESIDENT– Thank you, Mr Cebeci. The next speaker is Mr Kucheida.

Mr KUCHEIDA (France) praised the rapporteur for producing a work of high quality on a complex and sensitive problem. It was important to give it due consideration and not provide a forum for intolerance and hatred. Extremism was a manifestation of an opinion against the established legal, political and social norms in a state which governed civil peace. Resorting to extremism seemed an easy option, but it was also important to avoid stigmatisation. Sanctions were necessary but could not be preventive, and yet prevention was better for combating extremism. Propaganda, obscurantism, and exploitation of misery were essential to extremism, and it was the causes of extremism that had to be combated. Governments had to make utmost efforts which would involve scrutinising their own actions and sharing experiences. There were some encouraging results in Europe, but the response to intolerance in society remained disappointing in many cases. Regarding Roma, punitive legislation could not be a response to intolerance. The same standards needed to be applied at the national and European level and intolerance by the state could not be favoured, such as measures against Roma. Tolerance had to be the order of the day and the stigma had to be removed from differences to encourage proper behaviour. States could provide a moral example through education and culture. Showing solidarity with the least favoured in society in a period of crisis was also important. Ethics were crucial.

THE PRESIDENT – Thank you. I call Mr Tekelioğlu.

Mr TEKELİOĞLU (Turkey) – Mr President and dear colleagues, I would like to express my appreciation to Mr Agramunt Font de Mora for his report on a matter of huge importance. The fight against any form of extremism is vital for the survival of our democracies, but the question that we should ask, as is emphasised in the title of the report, is this: what are our achievements in the fight against extremism, and what are our failures?

In the last decade, following the 11 September attacks, public discussion concentrated on religious extremism and the terrorist attacks perpetrated by the followers of fundamentalist groups. The terrorist attacks eventually led to reactions and measures to prevent terrorism. However, although those measures attempted to combat extremism and terrorism, they paved the way for racist and xenophobic tendencies against one part of our population, namely Muslims.

Rather than protecting individuals of Muslim faith from extremism, societies have been tempted to associate Islam with extremism. Rather than preventing our Muslim believers from falling into the hands of extremist ideologies, societies have created an atmosphere where Muslins are perceived as extremists and even terrorists.

Dear colleagues, it is unacceptable to associate terrorism and extremism with any religion or belief. The identification of those scourges with a particular religion will no doubt lead to serious discrimination, intolerance and the stigmatisation of believers of that faith, to the detriment of the freedom of thought, conscience and religion. We all know that such identification has been counter-productive and misleading. It has not helped us in our fight again extremists; on the contrary, it has resulted in an upsurge in religious intolerance and discrimination among our peoples.

The Council of Europe has on several occasions expressed concern about growing intolerance towards Muslim communities and the inaccurate portrayal of Islam as a threat to European societies. Recommendation 5 of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance, dated April 2005, on combating intolerance and discrimination against Muslims, deserves to be mentioned in this regard. To counter the prejudice that is manifesting itself in various guises – mainly through discriminatory acts, violence and harassment – a number of recommendations have been made to European governments. I echo the rapporteur’s call to member states to follow the suggestions made by ECRI.

Implementing the necessary socio-economic integration policies is vital in combating extremism. Policies particularly directed at the elimination of any manifestation of discrimination on grounds of religious belief in accessing education, employment, housing in mixed areas, or public services, and in democratic participation through citizenship, should be developed. Our Assembly’s work on intercultural dialogue is another asset that we can use effectively in the fight against extremism. Regrettably, we observe that such work has lost its impetus lately.

Colleagues, the fights against extremism cannot be won by means of stricter laws and discriminatory discourse; in most cases, those things have turned out to be counter-productive when it comes to ensuring the peace and welfare of our societies. Instead, we should rely on human rights, tolerance towards diversity and integration with “the other” in our efforts to defeat extremism. Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT – Thank you. I call Mr Rafael Huseynov.

Mr R. HUSEYNOV (Azerbaijan) – Dear colleagues, anyone could, theoretically, speak about extremism, its negative consequences, and its potential to gain a broader scope; and everyone could and should raise his voice. However, from time to time, we hear from dozens of countries about the bloody traces of terrible disasters. Furthermore, the media provides us with the awful details without delay. Nevertheless, it is one thing to feel pity when we review the developments in remote countries regarding extremism and its fellow traveller, terrorism; it is another thing when such developments occur in proximity to you, before your eyes and in your surroundings. Certainly, when that happens, you realise more deeply and in detail the extent of the horror of extremism and how its metastasis shakes society. Like thousands of our citizens who have tasted the sorrows of extremism and terrorism in their lives, I am a vivid witness of this tsunami of politics, and have done more than just heard or read about its destructiveness.

In the late 1980s, the separatist activities initiated by Armenian extremists in Nagorno-Karabakh were not prevented in time, despite there being all proper opportunities. This tendency gradually gained enormous scope, having got out of control. That led to a long-term, exhaustive war, with permanent intervention, to varying extents, by great powers. As a consequence of the Armenian extremist and racist mentality, nearly 1 million Azerbaijani persons became refugees or internally displaced persons. Furthermore, thousands of people lost their lives. Over 300 000 Azerbaijanis who had been living in the territory of Armenia under a compact were forcibly deported from the country. National minorities in Armenia – Russians, Jews, Germans, Greeks, Kurds and representative of other ethnicities – were also deported, and the country became mono-ethnic. The Armenian people also became hostages of the authorities that made terrorism a state policy. The outcome is visible – Armenia is in a hopeless political, economic and cultural recession, and that crisis is taking the Armenian people closer and closer to chaos and misery with every passing day.

The worst thing is that racist, chauvinistic, Islamophobic and Turkophobic propaganda is being implemented through electronic and written media in Armenia. The saddest thing is that such thinking reverberates through scientific and non-scientific literature, thus brainwashing the young.

The history of extremism and terrorism supported by Armenia at state level has many bloody pages. The explosion in the underground station in Baku, which caused numerous casualties, is just one of those crimes. The sad list of such crimes is long.

Sometimes people try to define the nationality and colour of terrorism, but that is the wrong approach. In a number of countries, including France, the murder and destruction perpetrated by Armenian terrorist organisations such as the ASALA, Haydut and Vartan’s Knights surely cannot be linked to nationality. Such abominations have no nationality, and their target is human beings. We must fight all manifestations of extreme terrorism for the benefit of humanity.

THE PRESIDENT – Thank you. I call Mrs Keleş.

Mrs KELEŞ (Turkey) – The report on the fight against extremism is a biased report on an important subject. When the rapporteur and members of the Assembly discuss a report on such an important subject, they should be careful not to give the wrong impression. They should reflect what they really think in the report and in their discussions.

The rapporteur may not have wanted to single out Islam as the only religion that has fundamentalism. However, the first sentence of the summary states that “in recent years, Europe has witnessed an upsurge of certain forms of extremism, such as Islamic fundamentalism, racism and xenophobia, and separatism.” Does that sentence mean that there is fundamentalism only in Islam? Do people who are involved in racism, xenophobia and separatism have no religion, or are they all Muslims?

I thank the rapporteur for mentioning the PKK among the terrorist organisations. In paragraph 3.4 of the report, which covers separatism, the PKK is also named as a separatist group, which members and leaders of the PKK recently admitted. Draft resolution 4 states that “it is urgent to work out an international legal mechanism with a view to stopping all forms of financial support to extremist groups.” The same statement also appears in draft resolution 13.1.6. That is important, because the more financial support that extremist groups receive and the more sophisticated weapons that they use, the more radical their terrorist activities become.

In paragraph 10 of the draft resolution, the term “Islamist extremism” is used again. It says that states are confronted by the challenge of dealing effectively with that threat while countering the risk of stigmatising Islam as a religion. I appreciate the sensitivity about not stigmatising Islam as a religion, but to mention “Islamist extremism” and to talk about dealing with that threat effectively without mentioning any other religious extremism, is enough to stigmatise Islam.

It is important to formulate clear and sustainable immigration policies accompanied by appropriate integration policies and to work out an international legal mechanism with a view to stopping all forms of financial support to extremist groups. However, it is also vital not to economically exploit less developed countries and not to try to create minorities based on ethnic and religious differences among the citizens of another country, where having the same economic, social and cultural rights is vitally important in achieving a friendly, stable and prosperous world.

The second paragraph of the introduction to the explanatory memorandum clarifies why the rapporteur has returned to the term “Islamic fundamentalism”, despite the fact that Mr Berényi and others initiated the report following a motion that covered only racist extremist groups and parties. Should a report not reflect the content and scope of the motion? I think that it should, because a rapporteur is appointed according to the motion. Of course, that is true only when the rapporteur is not prejudiced in favour of a subject that they want to squeeze in, as was the case with the rapporteur of this report.

THE PRESIDENT – Thank you. I call Mr Açikgöz.

Mr AÇIKGÖZ (Turkey) – I thank the rapporteur for addressing such a controversial cross-cutting issue. Growing intolerance towards diversity in Council of Europe member states proves how timely it is to turn our attention to this sensitive matter.

The report elaborates priorities for more effective action in combating terrorism. However, it provides a misleading and incomplete picture of some forms of extremism that are currently on the rise.

Associating extremism with Islam under the label of “Islamic fundamentalism” does not recognise the increasing political extremism in Europe, which leads to a climate of suspicion and hatred as well as incitement to violence against those who hold different beliefs.

The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights has noted with concern in his reports growing Islamophobia in member countries. However, we are still discussing the implementation of those recommendations. We have not managed to advance, but the challenges faced by our societies today have grown and become much more alarming.

The main task before us is to distinguish between extremist groups that purport to act in the name of religion and true believers. Islamophobia is a result of that confusion.

Extremist discourse by European leaders and political parties has undoubtedly provided fertile ground for Islamophobic, discriminatory and intolerant tendencies against Muslims. I join the rapporteur in calling for ethics committees to be set up within political parties and parliaments with the right to sanction their members for racist, xenophobic and Islamophobic behaviour and discourse.

I also want to repeat the rapporteur’s call for more efforts to be made to fight against Islamophobia and to combat the negative stereotyping of Islam and Muslims in our societies.

In conclusion, I once again thank our rapporteur, who has touched on a very sensitive subject. I urge all Council of Europe member states to take the measures underlined in the resolution and recommendation.

THE PRESIDENT – Thank you. I call Mrs Papadimitriou.

Mrs PAPADIMITRIOU (Greece) – Due to Pedro Agramunt and his wonderful collaborators from the Secretariat, we now have a very good report, which, I hope, will be sent all over Europe and the world.

An upsurge in certain forms of extremism is causing concern all over Europe. Among those forms of extremism, racism and xenophobia are important. There has been a rise in electoral support for parties inspired by racist ideas, as has been shown in a number of recent national elections as well as in elections to the European Parliament. It is therefore urgent to work out an international legal mechanism with a view to stopping all forms of financial support to extremist groups – I would go as far as to say “extremist parties”.

Despite the differences noted among them, all forms of extremism which advocate or condone violence contravene the values and principles of the Council of Europe and must be countered with resolve with full respect to the guarantees and safeguards enshrined in our member states and the relevant human rights protection instruments.

More efforts should be made to fight against Islamophobia and to combat the negative stereotyping of Islam and Muslims in our societies, along the lines set out in general policy Recommendation 5 of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance – ECRI – on combating intolerance and discrimination against Muslims. The structuring of Islamist extremist groups in dormant or active independent cells with loose international connections poses huge difficulties for domestic law enforcement, intelligence agencies and transnational co-operation, in both prevention and detection.

Dear colleagues, we really must respond to our Assembly’s invitation and set up consultation processes involving civil society and NGOs. We must strengthen our activities in the field of intercultural and inter-religious dialogue. We must ensure that measures limiting or prohibiting the activities of extremist political parties are consistent with the case law of the European Court of Human Rights. We must introduce into our criminal legislation provisions against incitement to racial hatred and hate speech. We must strengthen international co-operation to counter the spreading of propaganda on the Internet. Finally, we must ensure full co-operation with the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance – ECRI – and support all its activities.

In closing, I am sure that under the weight of this phenomenon we will all do our best to fulfil our duty to move towards the goals enshrined in this report. However, we will have achieved very little if our efforts do not go hand in hand with an absolute respect for all individual and collective human rights, allowing all voices to be heard and answered. Let us remember that terrorism nests where solitude and abandonment are.

THE PRESIDENT – Thank you, Mrs Papadimitriou. I call Mrs Memecan.

Mrs MEMECAN (Turkey) – Mr President, dear colleagues, I congratulate the rapporteur, Mr Agramunt, on this objective, comprehensive and timely report. He examines many forms of extremism which threaten Europeans today. He rightly points out that we should focus on preventing these extremist movements rather than having to fight against them after they go underground, get out of hand, get organised and become violent.

Today, my biggest worry for the future of Europe and Europeans, next to climate change, is the rise of extreme nationalism or ultra-nationalism. I feel alarmed and lose hope every time an ultra-nationalist political party becomes popular and is eventually considered normal. Europe’s history is full of painful experiences which have been the result of similar ultra-nationalistic, racist movements. I am worried that Europe is shifting backwards.

Every European should be as alarmed as I am. We should question what this trend is doing to our societies, and where it is leading us. All of these hateful speeches, arrogant styles and intolerance towards the “other” are seeding negative energy, negative thoughts and fear to the young generations and preparing them for futile conflicts and violence.

It should not be acceptable for a modern-day French leader to use nasty words and take shameless actions against some humans just because they are Roma. It should not be acceptable for a modern-day Swedish politician to be against some other humans just because they are Muslims. It should not be acceptable for Hungarian politicians to be anti-Semitic. It should not be acceptable for every single politician in Bosnia and Herzegovina to base his campaign on the promise to protect one ethnic group from the other. How will Europe be a powerful player among the future global superpowers with so much pessimism, segregation and chaos as a consequence? Concerned European politicians, activists, liberals and democrats should take the initiative and do something about this.

Criticising is not enough. “Unity in diversity” is a great concept which the European Union has chosen as its motto. It is the antidote for ultra-nationalism, racism, intolerance, negative attitudes, xenophobia, Islamophobia and all other phobias. It simply implies respecting each other for whoever you are, which is possible. This motto must be popularised and internalised through educational programmes, youth exchanges, cultural activities and the creation of a greater possibility of dialogue among peoples.

With these thoughts, I hope that Mr Agramunt’s report can provide guidance for the member states in combating extremism. Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT – Thank you, Mrs Memecan. I call now Mr Kosachev. He is not in his place. I call Mr Koç.

Mr KOÇ (Turkey) thanked Mr Agramunt Font de Mora for the effort he had put into his report and asked to make a point of distinction. Religious extremism was not caused by religious doctrines. Rather, religious extremism arose when faith groups were subjected to adverse socio-economic conditions. Extremism could be found across the political spectrum and manifested itself differently, depending on people’s character. Many extremists found resonance with disaffected elements of society and political leaders were failing to tackle this. It was particularly worrying that some political leaders had begun to use overtly discriminatory language. Such language was contrary to the values of the Council of Europe. The focus of political action should be on supporting minority groups rather than discriminating against them. The Council should also examine the link between extremism and religion. It was important to consider the different contexts of this phenomenon. The best way forward was to consider ways of working together against extremism. The report cited the scourge of terrorism as one of the forms of extremism that was undermining society. He wanted to remind colleagues that the author, to whom Mr Slutsky had referred earlier, had been convicted for terrorist actions and not political ideology.

THE PRESIDENT – Thank you. Mr Koç.

I must now interrupt the list of speakers; I am very sorry. The speeches of members on the speakers list who have been present during the debate but have not been able to speak may be given to the Table Office for publication in the official report.

I call Mr Agramunt Font de Mora, rapporteur, to reply. You have six minutes.

Mr AGRAMUNT FONT DE MORA (Spain) said that he hoped to use less time than six minutes. Broadly speaking, he wanted to thank virtually all the speakers. He agreed with what they had said. This was a very important subject. The report was about fighting extremism in Council of Europe member states. Obviously, this was a worldwide problem but the report focused on the Council of Europe. Some speakers had used the report to attack neighbouring countries. This was not the purpose of the report. All forms of extremism, regardless of the form they took, were encompassed by the report. The report had focused on current issues in Europe which was why Islamic fundamentalism, racism, xenophobia and secessionist terrorist organisations had been mentioned. Secessionism was not just a problem for Spain, but also a problem elsewhere in Europe. Turkey, Spain and the United Kingdom had all suffered terrible terrorist attacks. He wanted to thank the speakers once again for their suggestions.

THE PRESIDENT – Thank you, Mr Agramunt Font de Mora.

Does the chairperson of the committee, Mr von Sydow, wish to speak? You have two minutes.

Mr VON SYDOW (Sweden) – The discussion has followed the case as outlined by the Political Affairs Committee. Our rapporteur emphasised that one of the problems is the ongoing economic crisis, because of the impoverishment of people and the sentiment that they are outsiders and have no influence. When they organise themselves, they are confronted by the reactions of others, as we have seen from the violence on the streets of our capitals and other cities when such groups have met. This troubles us.

Mr Agramunt Font de Mora also highlighted the risk of stigmatising immigration. It is one thing to take a stand on immigration for our voters, but using racist arguments cannot be accepted. It is dangerous because immigrants are left feeling alienated and citizens who are born in the country think that it is just a small step to using violence against immigrants.

We have the discussed the standing of European Muslims in our countries. We all fear that the ordinary Muslim citizen, or any Muslim with legitimate permission to stay in a country, is used by some to prove that Islam is an illegitimate political regime. We must continue to distinguish between such things in Europe. Several colleagues mentioned that and I am very happy to take note of their concerns.

THE PRESIDENT – Thank you, Mr von Sydow.

The debate is closed.

The Political Affairs Committee has presented a draft resolution to which eight amendments have been tabled, and a draft recommendation to which two amendments have been tabled.

I remind you that speeches on amendments are limited to 30 seconds.

I understand that the Chairperson of the Political Affairs Committee wishes to propose to the Assembly that the following amendments, which were unanimously approved by the committee, should be declared as agreed by the Assembly under Rule 33.10.

The amendments are Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 to the draft resolution.

Is that so, Mr von Sydow?

Mr VON SYDOW (Sweden) – Yes.

THE PRESIDENT – Does anyone object? That is not the case.

The following amendments have been adopted:

Amendment 1, tabled by Mr Pietro Marcenaro, on behalf of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, which is, in the draft resolution, paragraph 7, at the end of the first sentence, replace the words “and freedom of assembly” with the following words: “, freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association with others”.

Amendment 2, tabled by Mr Pietro Marcenaro, on behalf of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, which is, in the draft resolution, paragraph 7, replace the second sentence with the following words:

“Although these freedoms are the pillars of a pluralist democracy, their exercise can be limited. Such a limitation should be always prescribed by law, be necessary in a democratic society and should pursue the legitimate aims mentioned in the Convention, such as prevention of disorder or crime, the protection of morals and the protection of the rights of others.”

Amendment 3, tabled by Mr Pietro Marcenaro, on behalf of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, which is, in the draft resolution, paragraph 13.1.1, replace the word “taking” with the following words: “continuing to take”.

Amendment 4, tabled by Mr Pietro Marcenaro, on behalf of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, which is, in the draft resolution, paragraph 13.2, after the words “Council of Europe guidelines on human rights and the fight against terrorism”, insert the following words: “, adopted by the Committee of Ministers in 2002,”.

Amendment 5, tabled by Mr Pietro Marcenaro, on behalf of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, which is, in the draft resolution, paragraph 13.6, after the words “racial hatred or hate speech”, insert the following words: “if they have not yet done so”.

We come to Amendment 10, tabled by Mr Denis MacShane, Mr Guiorgui Kandelaki, Mr Emanuelis Zingeris, Mr Tadeusz Iwiński and Mr Göran Lindblad, which is, in the draft resolution, at the end of paragraph 5, add the following sentence:

“The Assembly also condemns all extremist attacks on Jewish citizens in Europe and Israel as well as the promotion of anti-Semitic ideology in the political declarations and charters of organisations like Hamas and Hezbollah which contribute to the growth of extremist politics in Europe.”

I call Mr MacShane to support Amendment 10.

Mr MacSHANE (United Kingdom) – I did not find support from colleagues in the Political Affairs Committee for my amendment, and we have had no time to discuss it in depth. I find it odd that the People’s Mujahideen from Iran are mentioned, along with the PKK and ETA, but not two of the biggest sponsors of terrorism, with huge networks in Europe, which in particular encourage anti-Semitic and anti-Jewish violent extremism, namely Hamas and Hizbollah. I think that we should condemn both in our resolution.

THE PRESIDENT – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment? I call Mr Agramunt Font de Mora.

Mr AGRAMUNT FONT DE MORA (Spain) said that Mr MacShane was basically correct but the report focused on member states of the Council of Europe and not on the Middle East. Anti-Semitism had already been addressed in the report.

THE PRESIDENT – What is the opinion of the committee?

Mr VON SYDOW (Sweden) – It was rejected.

THE PRESIDENT – The vote is open.

Amendment 10 is rejected.

We come now to Amendment 9, tabled by Mr Guiorgui Gabashvili, Mrs Chiora Taktakishvili, Mr Christos Pourgourides, Mrs Mailis Reps, Mr Franz Eduard Kühnel and Mr Andres Herkel, which is, in the draft resolution, at the end of paragraph 8, add the following sentence:

“In some cases, anti-extremism legislation has been used as a justification for the prosecution of individual journalists and NGOS critical to the government, as well as for shutting down independent web-sites.”

I call Mrs Taktakishvili to support Amendment 9.

Mrs TAKTAKISHVILI (Georgia) – This is an important amendment. It is based on credible reports by international organisations such as Human Rights Watch, Reporters Without Borders and Freedom House. We are just summarising factual information that sometimes anti-extremism legislation is used by countries to limit the right to freedom of expression by journalists and NGOs that are critical of the government. That should not be accepted by us.

THE PRESIDENT – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment?

I call Mr Agramunt Font De Mora.

Mr AGRAMUNT FONT DE MORA (Spain) said that the committee had not been able to study the matter and so had not included it in the report. If the situation had been clearer it would have been included but this was not the case.

THE PRESIDENT – What is the opinion of the committee?

Mr VON SYDOW (Sweden) – The amendment was rejected.

THE PRESIDENT – The vote is open.

Amendment 9 is rejected.

We come now to Amendment 8, tabled by Mr Guiorgui Gabashvili, Mrs Chiora Taktakishvili, Mr Christos Pourgourides, Mrs Mailis Reps, Mr Franz Eduard Kühnel and Mr Andres Herkel, which is, in the draft resolution, after paragraph 13.4, add the following sub-paragraph:

“submit to the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) their anti-extremism legislation for opinion with a view to assessing its compliance with international human rights instruments such as the ECHR, and fully implement all its recommendations;”.

I call Mrs Taktakishvili to support Amendment 8.

Mrs TAKTAKISHVILI (Georgia) – We see in the report that the rapporteur is interested in the fact that there are doubts about the compatibility of anti-extremism legislation with international standards of human rights. The amendment suggests submitting such specific legislation in Council of Europe member countries to the Venice Commission to gain expert opinion on whether it complies with the European Convention.

THE PRESIDENT – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment?

I call Mr Agramunt Font De Mora.

Mr AGRAMUNT FONT DE MORA (Spain) said that there were two similar amendments. Amendment 7, which would be discussed later, had been accepted as this was more appropriate. There were doubts as to whether the Parliamentary Assembly was able to give national parliaments guidance on national legislation.

THE PRESIDENT – What is the opinion of the committee?

Mr VON SYDOW (Sweden) – The amendment was rejected.

THE PRESIDENT – The vote is open.

Amendment 8 is rejected.

We will now proceed to vote on the whole of the draft resolution contained in Document 12265, as amended.

The vote is open.

The draft resolution in Document in 12265, as amended, is adopted, with 98 votes for, 6 against and 4 abstentions.


We now come to the vote on the draft recommendation to which two amendments have been tabled.

We come now to Amendment 6, tabled by Mr Pietro Marcenaro, on behalf of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, which is, in the draft recommendation, replace paragraph 4 with the following paragraph:

“The Assembly also recalls that, although freedom of expression and freedom of association are the pillars of a pluralist democracy, their exercise can be limited. Such a limitation should be always prescribed by law, be necessary in a democratic society and should pursue the legitimate aims mentioned in the Convention, such as prevention of disorder or crime, the protection of morals and the protection of the rights of others.”

I call Mr von Sydow.

Mr VON SYDOW (Sweden) – The amendment was agreed unanimously.

THE PRESIDENT – If nobody objects, the amendment can be declared as adopted by the Assembly under Rule 34.10.

Are there any objections? That is not the case.

Amendment 6 is adopted.


We come now to Amendment 7, tabled by Mr Guiorgui Gabashvili, Mrs Chiora Taktakishvili, Mr Christos Pourgourides, Mrs Mailis Reps, Mr Franz Eduard Kühnel and Mr Andres Herkel, which is, in the draft recommendation, after paragraph 5.1, add the following sub-paragraph:

“invite the Organisation’s relevant monitoring mechanisms to monitor the compliance of anti-extremism legislation introduced in some Council of Europe member states with international human rights instruments such as the ECHR;”.

I call Mrs Taktakishvili to support Amendment 7.

Mrs TAKTAKISHVILI (Georgia) – The amendment aims to charge the Council of Europe’s monitoring organisations with evaluating the compliance of anti-extremism legislation with European standards, especially the European Convention on Human Rights. That is extremely important.

THE PRESIDENT – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment? That is not the case.

What is the opinion of the committee?

Mr VON SYDOW (Sweden) –The amendment was adopted.

THE PRESIDENT – The vote is open.

Amendment 7 is adopted.


We will now proceed to vote on the whole of the draft recommendation contained in Document 12265, as amended. I remind members that the required majority is two thirds of those voting.

The vote is open.

The draft recommendation in Document 12265, as amended, is adopted with 106 votes for, 3 against and 4 abstentions.






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