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EU agrees on weakened anti-racism rules


Mars

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LUXEMBOURG - After six years of wrangling,

European Union members agreed Thursday on watered-down rules for combatting racism and hate crimes across the 27-nation bloc, including setting jail sentences for those who deny or trivialize the Holocaust. ADVERTISEMENT

Critics warned that the bloc's pullback from a tougher 2001 proposal will not deter the racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism that have been on the rise across Europe in recent years.

The rules agreed on by EU nations' justice and interior ministers set only minimum standards, diluting the original draft by allowing member states to opt out of the standards.

Despite the criticism, ministers said they had taken a step forward in reaching an accord, which must be approved by national parliaments.

"It is going to have implications for member states' legislation," said German Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries, who presided over the difficult and often tense six years of negotiations. "It is an important political signal for the EU."

EU Justice and Home Affairs Commissioner Franco Frattini said the new rules are meant to send a strong message of Europe's commitment to fighting racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism.

With an eye to Europe's Nazi past, Frattini said the EU had an obligation to affirm "values of tolerance, of refusal of any kind of violence."

"There are no safe havens in Europe for racist violence, for anti-Semitism, for people concretely inciting xenophobic hatred," he said.

The draft commits EU national governments to impose criminal sanctions on people or groups "publicly inciting to violence or hatred" based on race, color, religion, descent, ethnicity or national origin.

It also calls for EU nations to impose up to three-year prison sentences for anyone convicted of denying a genocide, such as the Nazis' mass killing of Jews during World War II and the 1990s massacre in Rwanda. That rule would apply only to genocides that have officially been recognized under statues of the International Criminal Court.

Reaching the deal was difficult because the EU's 27 members have vastly different legal and cultural traditions in dealing with racism. For example, Germany, France, Spain, Austria and Belgium already ban denials of the Holocaust, but others such as Denmark allow the publishing of hate literature under their freedom of expression legislation.

Yad Vashem,

Israel's Holocaust memorial authority, welcomed the agreement, but said EU governments should go further to teach their citizens about the past.

"We welcome the EU decision and believe that Holocaust denial legislation is an important tool in fighting Holocaust denial and hate. Legislation must be accompanied by educational activity," it said in a statement.

Anti-racist groups and others, however, said the draft rules would do little to boost existing national anti-racism laws, many of which already go further than the new EU measures.

A statement this week from the European Network against Racism, a grouping of more than 600 non-governmental organizations, called the draft "weak" and objected that "many escape clauses have been introduced to allow member states to circumnavigate their responsibilities."

It said vague terms in the proposal and weak jail terms would do little to take a firm stand against anti-Semitism and other racist incitement.

source: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070419/ap_on_...voHbIFxy73MWM0F

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denying the holocaust will get you jail time??? What a waste and how ridiculous.

Don't deny it then. Bank robbery will get you time in the stir as well, sut if you avoid it you should be ok.

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Don't deny it then. Bank robbery will get you time in the stir as well, sut if you avoid it you should be ok.

I don't deny the holocaust happened, but It's stupid to put someone in jail for an OPINION. It's nice to see that the EU would rather focus on this though rather than the real criminals theiving, murdering, and raping :rolleyes:.

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It sounds like this has come to light after a few incidences of the holocaust being denied or that case a few weeks ago whereby someone made a ridiculous rule that children were not to be taught about the holocaust in one particular school.

Having an opinion should be within our rights - without question, however, when those opinions are imposed upon others (as in the case above), that, in my view, is another story.

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The jewish holocaust should NOT be taught in schools. There was the Ukrainian holocaust that killed 7 MILLION PEOPLE. stalin himself killed 30 MILLION PEOPLE. Or what happens to the palestinians. There are bigger ones that are never learned about.

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The jewish holocaust should NOT be taught in schools. There was the Ukrainian holocaust that killed 7 MILLION PEOPLE. stalin himself killed 30 MILLION PEOPLE. Or what happens to the palestinians. There are bigger ones that are never learned about.

You make a good point, but I have to disagree. I think the jewish holocaust should be taught in schools; but the others need to as well. I'm just three years out of high school and I don't ever remember hearing in world history class of the extermination of the Ukrainians, and Stalins genocide. And Palestine is definitely not mentioned.

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In the context of the orginal post.. who cares ? So the EU is making new decisions, which the indivdidual countries will leap to incorporate into their laws.

Actually, many of the individual countries are having problems doing this. whillst their political leaders are gung-ho for it, their citiziens are becoming increasingly reluctant... if not outright rebellious.

Watch this space.

Meow Purr.

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How... how is denying the holocaust racist?

Tbh, all these anti-racism and the PCness that surrounds it, is just making it seem like being white (though... you can't be racist against caucasian's for some reason), black, latin, inuit, asian, pakistani, indian ectect - is wrong and bad. Why is colour bad? because the PCness says so, due to all it's "this is not a blackboard, it is a chalkboard" estique.

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The jewish holocaust should NOT be taught in schools. There was the Ukrainian holocaust that killed 7 MILLION PEOPLE. stalin himself killed 30 MILLION PEOPLE. Or what happens to the palestinians. There are bigger ones that are never learned about.

Mars, i am really impresed that you know about the artificial hungers that Stalin created in Ukraine. His victims, has any victim of a planned gonocide must not be forgotten. Take the example of the Armenian people.

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