MEPs: Don’t Incite Hatred of Migrants and Refugees

Paradoxically, in a year of frontal political attacks by several national governments against migrants and asylum seekers, the EP's resolution on fundamental rights calls on countries to refrain from inciting fear and hatred among citizens.
Political consistency is not among the strengths of EU politicians when values face reality. MEPs of Hungary’s ruling Fidesz party were among 456 other European Parliamentarians to approve a resolution on the situation of Human Rights in the EU in 2015.

EU must 'set a good example'

The text explicitly calls member states to "refrain from inciting fear and hatred among their citizens towards migrants and asylum-seekers for political gain." All this after the Hungarian government spent close to 44.7 million euros on anti-migrant hate campaign, flooding the country with xenophobic billboards in the run-up to the referendum on the migrant quotas.

And it's not the only government in the EU that acts contrary to our common democratic values on a regular basis.

"The European Union should not just deal with societal, legal and economic problems. The EU must also deal with the issue of fundamental rights and should set a good example," the rapporteur of the report, József Nagy (EPP, Slovakia), said.

MEPs express concern about the "increasing levels of hate speech from within certain institutions, political parties and media" and expect the European Union to set an example of opposing hate speech.

Positive information campaigns

The document calls governments to prevent radicalization and violent extremism while developing positive information campaigns to help citizens view integration in a better way based on "European values, tolerance and a sense of community, without stigmatization."

Among its concrete suggestions, the legally non-binding document raises the following issues:

  • Citing a report by Europol that at least 10,000 unaccompanied refugee and migrant children went missing in the EU last year, the text calls on states to register and identify children in a child-friendly way to prevent their disappearance.
  • A request for Europol and Eurojust to dedicate appropriate resources to identify victims, fight networks of abusers and accelerate the referral of child abuse material when it comes to the protection of children on the internet against sexual exploitation, child pornography or cyber-bullying.
  • On a separate note, the report calls for more active protection of LGBTI people, pointing out that their fundamental rights are often breached in several EU counties.
  • When it comes to effective policy-making, the report reiterates the EP's call from October 2016 to create an EU mechanism on democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights to monitor the situation of these principles in EU member states on an annual basis.
  • Lastly, MEPs call for an extensive debate on the tasks and activities of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, attempting to highlight the important work it does in supplying expertise to EU institutions and EU member states on the freedoms and liberties of European citizens.
  • The report criticizes the governments for their inaction when it comes to protecting Roma communities, based on the devastating conclusions of a related report by the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency.

Click here to read the full report.