October 19, 2010
By Cleophas Tsokodayi
UN News Service: 19 October 2010 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today warned Europe against a new ‘politics of polarization,’ discrimination and intolerance over immigration, with Muslim immigrants as primary targets, as he delivered major addresses before two of the continent’s leading bodies.
‘Almost seven years ago, my predecessor Kofi Annan stood before you,’ he told the 27-nation European Parliament in Strasbourg, France. ‘In his address, he made an impassioned call for Europe to seize the opportunities presented by immigration and to resist those who demonized these newcomers as ‘the other.’ I wish I could report, today, that the situation in Europe has improved over the intervening years. But as a friend of Europe, I share profound concern.’
In a speech two hours earlier to the 47-nation Council of Europe, whose 800 million citizens number some 300 million more than those represented in the European Union’s parliament, he highlighted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclamation of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family.
‘That is our base line,’ he declared at the session marking the 60th anniversary of the European Convention on Human Rights. ‘That is our standard. There are no exceptions. In a complicated and connected world, this mission is essentially simple and simply essential.’
In his address to the parliamentarians, Mr. Ban said Europe has served ‘as an extraordinary engine of integration, weaving together nations and cultures into a whole that is far, far greater than the sum of its parts. But for Europe, ‘winning the peace’ was the narrative of the last century.
‘The 21st century European challenge is tolerance within. Inclusion, building diverse communities, is as complex a task as the one Europe faced after the Second World War. None of this is easy,’ he added.
Migrants, he noted, suffer disproportionately, whether they are from within Europe or beyond, and he pointed to ‘a new politics of polarization’ as a dangerous emerging trend.
‘Some play on people’s fears. They seek to invoke liberal values for illiberal causes. They accuse immigrants of violating European values. Yet too often, it is the accusers who subvert these values – and thus the very idea of what it means to be a citizen of the European Union,’ he said.
‘Europe’s darkest chapters have been written in language such as this. Today, the primary targets are immigrants of the Muslim faith. Europe cannot afford stereotyping that closes minds and breeds hatred. And the world cannot afford a Europe that does this.’
In his address to the Council, Mr. Ban cited evidence of backsliding on civil and political rights and a growing anxiety in many developed countries over migration and economic hard times that are used to justify policies of discrimination and exclusion.
Full Article Here – http://www.examiner.com/united-nations-in-washington-dc/un-chief-shares-profound-concern-over-immigration-and-intolerance-europe?utm_campaign=Save+Human+Rights+-+Google+News&utm_medium=Twitter&utm_source=SNSanalytics