1. The importance of the report
of the Social, Health and Family Affairs Committee prepared by Mr Roland Blum,
France, EPP/CD cannot be underestimated. Many European countries
have experienced violent riots in the past years. The tightening
of immigration policies has not changed the situation; riots have
continued and have become even more violent as evidenced by recent
violent riots in Brussels (May 2008), Caserta and Milano (Italy,
September 2008) and Roquetas de Mar (Spain, September 2008).
2. The European countries, all member states of the Council of
Europe, have to act together to come up with a policy of actions
to tackle and prevent future violent riots in our countries, taking
into account the specificities of each country.
3. The understanding of the incentives that make people organise
and participate in the riots is of paramount importance. As the
rapporteur rightly points out that, built out of frustration, in
some but not all cases it is the only way for these people to express
themselves and carry their message to the government.
4. The only way to improve the situation is to tackle all the
causes of the riots simultaneously. The value of this report is
that it has identified those causes, which paves the way for the
next step – the action.
5. The rapporteur notices rightly that riots should not be perceived
by justice system as individual matters, for collectivism plays
the decisive role in riots. Conviction of the people involved in
the riots will only bring out more anger against the state’s unsuccessful
policies. The Committee on Migration, Refugees and Population proposes
that the Parliamentary Assembly should open a discussion on the
alternatives to custody that could be used towards the people participating
6. The committee recommends the Assembly to consider keeping
the progress of each country’s successes and failures on its agenda.
This would enable further understanding of the situation in practices
and have the potential to lead Council of Europe member states to
the elaboration of best policies.
7. The committee particularly highlights the need to conduct
thorough research and comparative analysis of the links between
media coverage and violence during the riots, with a particular
focus on the long-term consequences of limited or recurrent coverage
of violent riots in the media and in some countries the no coverage
as a policy of government. It recalls that the restriction of the
media coverage can be used by the parties as an excuse for further
human rights violations.
8. Finally, the committee proposes the following amendments to
the draft resolution presented by the Social, Health and Family
Affairs Committee, complementing paragraph 9 with some additional recommendations
to the member states: