The Office of the High Commissioner Takes Part in ECRI's 2017 Seminar

The Office of the High Commissioner Takes Part in ECRI's 2017 Seminar

23 May 2017

As every year since it was first established, the Office of the High Commissioner for the Protection of Human Rights, Liberties and for Mediation took part in the annual seminar organised by the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) for national bodies that specialise in combating discrimination in the 47 member States of the Council of Europe.

The 2017 seminar, held on 23 and 24 May in Strasbourg, was devoted to considering a draft revised version of ECRI's General Policy Recommendation (GPR) No. 2, which calls upon Member States to establish one or more specialised bodies to combat racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and intolerance at the national level.

The new text of this Recommendation provides for taking inspiration from best practices implemented in the various countries since the adoption of the original Recommendation in 1997, with a view to promoting developments that are deemed desirable in the context of the constant reinforcement of the means to combat racism and intolerance in Europe.  In this regard, it significantly strengthens the obligations imposed on member States to provide these bodies with greater prerogatives and means of action acquired in the course of their mission to promote equality.

These two days of work led to some particularly valuable discussions, during which each participant was able to put forward his or her observations on the projected proposals.

Like several of its counterparts, the Monegasque High Commissioner emphasised the need to retain realistic objectives in this Recommendation by refocusing it on principles that are essential to the effectiveness of the national bodies' activity, while taking into account the diversity of States' political and legal systems and the varied types and mandates of national institutions, particularly when these are established in the form of Generalist Ombudsmen, as in the case of the Office of the High Commissioner in Monaco.

The reflections resulting from these discussions with the ad hoc working group set up within ECRI to revise GPR No. 2 will be studied by the Commission with a view to definitive adoption by the plenary session of ECRI in December 2017.