”Tougher climate for minorities and diversity in Europe”
The xenophobic, nationalist and even violent-prone climate in Europe in recent years is highly problematic for all who belong to various minority groups, argues Sia Spiliopoulou Åkermark. After two years as president of the Council of Europe’s Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, Sia Spiliopoulou Åkermark, Associate Professor of International Law, completed her term of office in Strasbourg in September, when she presented for the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe a final report on the situation of minorities developed in European states during the last two years.
The Advisory Committee’s report notes that the number of political parties whose ideology is based on antisemitic, Islamophobic, anti-Gypsy and xenophobic grounds has increased during the period from June 2012 to May 2014. The messages of such organizations, which are sometimes amplified in the media and through social media, pose a direct threat to persons belonging to national minorities, who face a heightened risk of harassment and physical attacks. In some countries the deep polarisation of society along linguistic lines leaves minorities particularly vulnerable to escalating tensions.