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PACE adopts draft resolution on combating manifestations of neo-Nazism

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has adopted a draft resolution to counter manifestations of neo-Nazism and right-wing extremism, and has called on its member states to join the fight against the growing ideology.

The Parliamentary Assembly "unequivocally condemns the increasing number of manifestations of neo-Nazism (right-wing extremism) and the rise of neo-Nazi parties and movements in Europe, some of which have entered parliament at national or European level."

"This is not an isolated phenomenon particular to some Council of Europe member States, but rather a problem with pan-European dimensions. It often lays dormant in society until the right conditions for emergence come about. It can thus only be effectively tackled on the basis of shared experiences and good practice among member States," the draft document adopted during the fall session in Strasbourg says.

The parliamentarians stress the prime responsibility of government representatives and democratic political leaders, urging them "to form a bloc around a "democratic consensus" in order to raise concerted opposition to neo-Nazi ideology and to the political parties that speak up in its favour, whether in or out of parliament."

PACE underlines that in the fight against neo-Nazism, the focus should be on prevention, "through education and awareness raising," and "early reaction, at grass-roots level, to any manifestations of neo-Nazism, whether violent or not, be it by organised groups or radicalised individuals."

The lawmakers have proposed making party leaders and members, including members of parliament, "criminally liable for using hate speech or committing hate crime or any other criminal offence, reacting timely and effectively."

In the resolution, the parliamentarians called on politicians to "take up the debate with neo-Nazis and expose them publicly by clearly and unequivocally challenging, rejecting and condemning neo-Nazi ideology and rhetoric."

Russian lawmaker urges PACE to investigate Neo-Nazi crimes

The Assembly listed examples of good practice in Europe, including action to prevent young people becoming drawn into neo-Nazi groups or to help them leave. It also called to enhance teaching at schools of 20th-century history and in particular the period around World War II.

A Russian lawmaker, Olga Kazakova, who attended the session, has called on the international community to carry out unbiased investigations into Neo-Nazism crimes and protect their victims.

"It is essential to ensure protection of the Neo-Nazism victims and also to conduct impartial and if needed, international investigations into the crimes that have the specific character of Neo-Nazism," Kazakova said.

Mass graves in eastern Ukraine's Donetsk region

PACE should not remain indifferent to the recent fact of discovered mass burial of people subjected to torture in Ukraine's Donetsk region, the Russian lawmaker added.

Mass graves on the site of Kommunar mine, near Nizhnyaya Krynka village, some 35 kilometers (21.7 miles) northeast of Donetsk, were discovered on September 23 by self-defense militias.

Forensic experts came to the conclusion that the people had been shot in the head at close range. This area was earlier controlled by Ukrainian security forces and the National Guard's Aidar battalion. Other burial sites have been also found in the area but they have not been opened up.

One of the graves contained some 40 bodies of civilians, while the two others had the bodies of captured militia members and Ukrainian soldiers, the prime minister of the Donetsk People's Republic, Alexander Zakharchenko, said last week.

Russia's Foreign Ministry believes the mass burial of civilians near Donetsk is a military crime, and insists on an urgent and comprehensive international probe into the case.

[Source: Itar Tass, Strasbourg, 30Sep14]

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