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    Europe Sees Steady Rise of Intolerance Toward Minorities: Council of Europe

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    Europe's intolerance toward minority groups has risen over the past two years and the trend is likely to continue along with a surge of nationalistic spirit, minorities expert Athanasia Spiliopoulou Akermark said in a podcast with the council of Europe Wednesday.

    MOSCOW, September 24 (RIA Novosti) - Europe's intolerance toward minority groups has risen over the past two years and the trend is likely to continue along with a surge of nationalistic spirit, minorities expert Athanasia Spiliopoulou Akermark said in a podcast with the council of Europe Wednesday.

    "Europe is in a state of paradox. On the one hand, we have a great diversity – more mobility, more contact and inter-marriage – all these everyday experiences of diversity," Akermark who is the outgoing President of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention (ACFC) for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM) said.

    "At the same time, we have an increase on the other side, among people who find that diversity is a problem in itself, that identity means segregation and separation and that it is not possible to achieve democratic prosperity if we give acknowledgment and affirmation to minority concerns," she added.

    According to Akermark, Europe has adopted a greater tolerance for beliefs such as racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and attitudes against gypsies, migrants, and refugees.

    FCNM requires nations take positive measures to not only preserve minorities' identities, but also develop their languages and cultures to establish societal peace beneficial to a nation's economy and overall progress.

    The outgoing president stressed that minorities do not cause conflicts rather their issues are used to create conflicts as scapegoats or political arguments.

    Regarding the rise of European nationals joining Islamic State (IS) militants fighting in Syria, Akermark claimed the bigger question is why those recruited feel closer to the situation in Syria than life in their own country.

    The FCNM which came into force on February 1, 1998, is a treaty designed to protect the rights of persons belonging to national minorities. Thirty-nine States are currently party to the treaty including Russia, Ukraine, Germany, and the United Kingdom among others. States that have neither signed nor ratified the framework include Andorra, France, Monaco, and Turkey. All parties are monitored and evaluated via the Advisory Committee.

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    Daesh, migrants, racism, minorities, Council of Europe, European Union
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