Council of Europe reports

  • Islam, Islamism and Islamophobia in Europe, Report by Mr Mogens Jensen, Committee on Culture, Science and Education, 25 May 2010. Summary: Intolerance towards Islam and Muslims has been increasing in recent years alongside “Islamism”, a religiously disguised form of political extremism. The Council of Europe should serve as the pan-European forum for discussing common strategies for strengthening democratic stability faced with Islamism and Islamophobia. Social exclusion and cultural discrimination of Muslims must not be tolerated. Islamism cannot be combated by banning symbols of extremism and gender inequality. Inter-religious education should be supported by member states. Institutions of higher education and research in Europe should provide Islamic studies. Contacts between Muslim and non-Muslim Europeans and Muslims in North Africa, the Middle East and Asia should be facilitated, in particular among young people, students and teachers.

  • Legal remedies for human rights violations in the North-Caucasus Region,  Report by Mr Dick Marty, Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, 4 June 2010. Summary:  The Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights notes that the situation in the North Caucasus region, particularly in the Chechen Republic, Ingushetia and Dagestan, constitutes the most serious situation in the entire geographical area encompassed by the Council of Europe in terms of human rights protection and the affirmation of the rule of law.
    In the Chechen Republic, the current authorities continue to maintain a generalised climate of fear, notwithstanding the undeniable successes in the sphere of reconstruction and the distinct improvement of the region’s infrastructures, which had been laid to waste by two cruel and devastating wars. Nevertheless, the human rights situation and the functioning of justice and democratic institutions continue to give cause for the gravest concern: successive disappearances of the government’s opponents and human rights defenders still remain widely unpunished and are not elucidated with due diligence.
    In Ingushetia, constructive dialogue has been forged between the authorities and civil society since the new President came to power. It must nevertheless be pointed out that there has been a worrying resurgence of violence since 2009, resulting in some cases in assassinations and disappearances of opponents to the government and journalists, without any prosecutions to date.
    Dagestan has also recently experienced a resurgence of acts of terrorism, prompting responses from the security forces that, unfortunately, are not always lawful and productive. The admirable tradition of peaceful secular cohabitation between Muslim, Christian and Jewish communities founded on mutual tolerance could be jeopardised by the rise of extremism and inappropriate responses from the authorities.
    The Committee notes that the European Court of Human Rights has condemned the Russian Federation for serious human rights violations in the region in over 150 judgments and stresses the importance of the prompt and complete implementation of these judgments.

    The Committee is making a number of proposals aimed at putting a stop to the impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators of human rights violations and restoring the people’s trust in the law enforcement agencies, without which it will not be possible to defeat the rise of extremism and terrorism, which the Committee condemns in the most resolute terms, expressing its solidarity with the victims on all sides.

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