Brasseur says Croatian politicians must be against intolerance, hate speech

Zagreb - Council of Europe (CoE) Parliamentary Assembly President Anne Brasseur called on Croatian politicians on Friday to speak out against a rhetoric of division and populism, intolerance and hate speech ahead of the next parliamentary election. 

- As elected politicians, we have the responsibility to contribute to the creation of an environment of tolerance and respect for diversity in our societies, to the fight against social exclusion, discrimination and even segregation, and to promote co-existence, Brasseur said in the Croatian Parliament.

- In that context, ahead of the upcoming parliamentary election in Croatia, I wish to stress that politicians have a special responsibility to promote inclusion, tolerance and respect. All democratic political forces must speak out against a rhetoric of division and populism, intolerance and hate speech, she said.

- In more than 19 years of membership, Croatia has fully used the standards offered by the CoE in the functioning of democratic institutions, the protection and promotion of human and minority rights, the strengthening of judicial independence, the fight against corruption and the prevention of discrimination, Brasseur said.

- Croatia has achieved outstanding progress in the establishment of democratic norms and practices but, as in all CoE member states, there is still room for improvement, she said. It is important to maintain the pace of reforms and we can never take for granted what we have achieved, she added. 

- Croatia's success is an example to other countries in the region in their European integration, showing that effort pays off, she said.

Brasseur hoped that a recent International Court of Justice judgement in genocide suits Croatia and Serbia filed against each other would contribute to reconciliation and not create further rifts. 

She reiterated that the CoE wanted Croatia to ratify the revised Social Charter and the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women as soon as possible. Brasseur went on to say that the challenges Europe faced required a concerted response by all member states, primarily in opposing extremism and terrorism.

- Last week's attack in Copenhagen and January's attacks in Paris were a blow to the foundations of our societies. There is no justification for terrorism and our organisation has the duty to contribute to the finding of an effective response to this threat, she said.

- At the same time, as a keeper of human rights, the rule of law and democracy, the CoE must make sure that the necessary security responses of the member states are in line with the highest human rights standards, she added.

Author: Hina