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    A picture taken on March 16, 2017 shows policemen standing guard near migrants at the Moria migrant camp on the island of Lesbos, almost a year after an EU-Turkey deal

    Xenophobia, Hate Speech Widespread in EU Amid Migration Crisis - Report

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Europe saw high levels of xenophobic populism and hate speech last year amid the prolonged migration crisis in the region, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) said in its Friday report.

    "Xenophobic populism and hate speech have continued to be on the rise in 2017, with high levels of migration and challenges of integration, religious extremism, terrorist attacks and the austerity-driven socio-economic climate observed all over Europe," the organization said.

    The ECRI warned that in some countries, there was "a trend to depict multiculturalism as a dangerous notion and to pursue a pattern that seems to negate and deny the value of human rights and their universality."

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    According to the ECRI, such a trend could hinder social cohesion and incite acts of hostility, discrimination, hate speech or even violence.

    In order to combat racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance, states must not only take legislative measures against the use of hate speech, but also steps to respond to the conditions conducive to its use, the report said.

    "Managing migration while respecting human rights obligations has remained a major challenge in many member states. Migration has continued to be represented by xenophobic populist circles as a threat to social cohesion and security. This discourse often overlooks the evidence-based facts about migration," the ECRI said.

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    Europe should adopt a more inclusive approach to immigration and provide dignified support to people coming to the continent, the ECRI indicated.

    "While acknowledging the challenges of migration, ECRI encourages changing the narrative to a more balanced and fact-based discourse that emphasizes the positive contribution of well-governed migration, in particular by underlining the opportunities and resources migrants can bring," the organization stressed.

    The ECRI was established by the Council of Europe as an independent human rights body to monitor and combat racism and intolerance.

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    Since 2015, Europe has been experiencing its worst migration crisis in recent history, struggling to accommodate hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants fleeing hostilities in the Middle East and North Africa.

    hate speech, xenophobia, migration crisis, European Union
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