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Statement by Iceland in Exchange of views with Ms Maria Daniella Marouda, Chair of ECRI (European Commission against Racism and Intolerance)

Council of Europe, Committee of Ministers, 1408th meeting of the Ministers' Deputies. Statement delivered by Ambassador Ragnhildur Arnljótsdóttir.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

We welcome today’s exchange with Ms. Marouda and thank her and the rest of the ECRI members for their tireless efforts in the fight against racism, xenophobia, antisemitism, discrimination and intolerance, including against LGBTI persons.

Mr. Chair,

We remain deeply concerned by the anti-LGBTI law recently adopted by the Hungarian Parliament. This legislation goes against ECRIs general principles and key standards on LGBTI issues according to which authorities should take appropriate legislative measures with the aim of sending a clear message that intolerance against LGBTI persons is not acceptable. Such measures should enshrine in law the equality and dignity of LGBTI persons in all areas of life – not limit human rights or stigmatize members of society. Such measures only reinforce prejudice against LGBTI persons and is incompatible with the values of a democratic society. We stand in solidarity with LGBTI persons in Hungary and elsewhere and urge Hungary to instead combat prejudices and discrimination and to work for the full acceptance of all people, no matter who they are or who they love for love is love and love is a human right.

Ms. Marouda, as noted in the annual report, racist and xenophobic incidents linked to the pandemic have been widespread. We, as States, have a responsibility to ensure that our response to Covid-19 does not entail stigmatization, exclusion or discrimination.

The fight against racism, xenophobia, antisemitism, discrimination and intolerance cannot be fought solely by those who are exposed to such biases. This fight must be fought by all of us who firmly believe in the equal value of all persons and it is only by mobilizing forces at all levels, including institutions, civil society and the private sector, that we will make progress. Ms. Marouda, what is the experience of ECRI in this regard?

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

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