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Stop inciting fear, hatred of migrants, refugees: EU lawmakers

Xinhua, December 14, 2016 Adjust font size:

Members of European Parliament (MEPs) in a resolution adopted Tuesday called on European Union (EU) member states to stop inciting fear and hatred of migrants and refugees.

The resolution, adopted by 456 votes to 138, with 104 abstentions, is the European Parliament's reply to the European Commission's annual report on fundamental rights in the union.

It addresses key challenges faced by the EU in 2015, especially in areas related to migration, child protection and online threats, a year that brought over a million people to the continent's shores as Europe first faced the full weight of the ongoing refugee crisis.

MEPs lamented "increasing levels of hate speech from within certain institutions, political parties and media," and reiterated expectations that the EU set an example for opposing such discourses within its institutions.

"The European Union should not just deal with societal, legal and economic problems. The EU must also deal with the issue of fundamental rights and should set a good example," said rapporteur Jozsef Nagy from the European People's Party Group.

The resolution also argues that EU member states should increase their efforts to promote "European values, tolerance and a sense of community, without stigmatization" in order to prevent radicalization and violent extremism, while developing information campaigns that help citizens view integration plans in a positive manner.

Particularly vulnerable groups, such as unaccompanied migrant children, were also a focus of the resolution, with MEPs calling on member states to strengthen guardianship systems and work toward keeping families together.

Parliamentarians cited a Europol report saying that at least 10,000 unaccompanied refugee and migrant minors went missing in the EU in 2015, urging countries to reinforce existing tools and develop new ones to help register and identify children, as well as trace those who go missing.

To counter risks that children face on the internet, such as sexual exploitation, child pornography or cyber-bullying, MEPs ask that Europol and Eurojust be given appropriate resources to identify victims, fight networks of abusers and accelerate the referral of child abuse material.

They also call for awareness-raising campaigns and school programs to teach children about potential risks related to the internet and call for further cooperation between the public and private sectors to this end.

Tuesday's resolution follows on a resolution adopted on Oct. 25 calling for the creation of a new EU watchdog for the oversight of democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights. The European Commission currently has until September 2017 to present a proposal to the European Parliament for the development of such a mechanism. Endit