International environmental

Derecho del Medio Ambiente # Indigenous Peoples. Law and Policy Series. Convention number 107

  • Enviado por: Michael Bothe, Thomas Kurzidem, etc
  • Idioma: inglés
  • País: España España
  • 22 páginas
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International Environmental Law and Policy Series

Amazonia and Siberia

Legal Aspects of the Preservation of the Environment and Development in the Last Open Spaces

Edited by

Michael Bothe

Thomas Kurzidem

Christian Schmidt

The Protection of Indigenous Peoples under the ILO Convention

Hans-Joachim Heintze

1. Introduction

It has never been realized by the public as it has been case with the UN or the UNESCO, that the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has, since 1919, assigned an important place to human rights in its fields of competence. The organization has been,,a principal inspiration of the universal and regional texts relating economic and social rights, and to certain civil rights-indig.htmland political rights."[1]

This is especially true in connection with the protection of indigenous peoples. The ILO became active in this field long before the United Nations. There is no mention of this problem in any of the basic UN instruments relating to human rights. In general, and in the special case of indigenous peoples, the following statement about international law is correct:,,The progressive development of international law is a continuing process, and there remain a number of areas in which agreement on more detailed legal regimes is still needed. In some cases this is because international opinion is only just becoming seriously interested in particular problems."[2]

Concerning indigenous peoples the ILO made an important contribution in awakening public interest in that problem. And the ILO is still a pacemaker in the field, as the Convention No. 169 shows. But there is no doubt about a certain competition between the ILO and UN activities in that field. Some experts criticize the ILO, that the Convention 107 on indigenous populations had been a dead letter for many years.[3] Samson, the former Coordinator for Human Rights questions in the ILO explained the position of this organization:

,,I would agree that, had there been no earlier comprehensive standardsetting by the ILO on the subject, it would have been preferable now to leave such action to the UN. Various reasons had, however, led to the ILO being chosen by the UN system as a whole as the forum for adoption of Convention No. 107, and its supplementary Recommendation, in 1957. The ILO had been designated as the lead agency in the Andean Indian Programme, in which other agencies - such as the UN, FAO, WHO and UNESCO - also participated. The ILO had an established framework for the adoption of standards, whereas UN human rights standard-setting at the time was making little headway."[4]

One can ask what the advantage of an international convention for the protection of indigenous peoples is. After the experiences of these peoples, it seems understandable that they feel a need for the greatest possible protection of their human rights and their rights as peoples, in particular with a certain international law personality. From the standpoint of international law it is also obvious that one cannot speak of problems of discrimination of certain groups without mentioning the fate of indigenous peoples.[5] History had demonstrated that indigenous rights cannot be left only to the national legal order.[6] Their claims are ten-fold:

  • physical survival;

  • cultural survival and cultural identity;

  • sovereignty;

  • self-determination;

  • self-government;

  • land-rights;

  • control over their land and its resources;

  • compensation;

  • non-discrimination;

  • affirmative action.[7]

Some of these claims have been recognized by the ILO Conventions. The importance for the theory and practice of international law of that development is that indigenous peoples have a limited capacity as subjects of international law.

2. The ILO Convention No. 107 of 1957

The interest of the ILO in the problems of indigenous peoples resulted from the fact that individuals belonging to indigenous people were very often the victims of prejudices which led to gross exploitation in the labour market. The background has been the lack of appropriate education and vocational training of these individuals as well as a massive discrimination by the ruling societies in the relevant states. This has been the outcome of a historical process of conquest, penetration and marginalization of traditional indigenous societies. The discrimination was accompanied by attitudes of superiority among the Europeans. The result was a gradual destruction of the material and spiritual basis for the maintenance of indigenous societies. Many of indigenous individuals had been deprived of their land and natural resources and had nowhere to go. Therefore, these individuals had very often no other alternative but to accept employment under the worst conditions.

From the perspective of the competence of the ILO there was a task of elimination of discrimination and of integration of indigenous ,,populations" into the societies of the concerned member States.[8] The result of these considerations was the adoption of Convention No. 107, the Convention on Indigenous and Tribal Populations. This was for a long time the only universal Convention which dealt exclusively with the rights of indigenous populations.

The aim of this Convention was the adoption of general international standards for the protection of indigenous populations, the improvement of their living and working conditions and ,,their progressive integration into their respective national communities".[9]

The main idea of the document was, therefore, that governments undertake measures not only to protect but also to progressively integrate the indigenous populations into the wider societies (Article 2).

The authors of the Convention, however, saw some limits of this integration. It should not be a form of ,,artificial assimilation" (Article 2, paragraph 2 c). The limits were the respect of:

  • the cultural and religious values;

  • the forms of social control existing among these populations; and

  • the nature of the problems which face them both as groups and as individuals when they undergo social and economic change.

The intention of a ,,moderate integration" becomes very obvious when reading Article 4 b of the Convention. According to that provision, the governments shall take into account ,,the danger involved in disrupting the values and institutions of the said populations unless they can be replaced by appropriate substitutes which the groups concerned are willing to accept."

3. Limited Consequences of Convention No. 107

Without any doubt, this Convention was a considerable success in directing international public opinion towards the often dramatic problems faced by indigenous populations. Also from the standpoint of international law, which is primarily a law of the relations between sovereign states, this Convention was a further step for the creation of a human rights protection system not only for the individuals but also for collective human rights.[10]

However, for various reasons the Convention won only limited support. Typical is the case of Norway, a country with its own indigenous people within its territory:

,,When the question of accession was taken up in Norway in 1958, the government, with the support of the Storting, was of the opinion that there were no population groups in Norway such as those dealt with in the treaty, and that there was therefore no reason to go into the question of Norwegian ratification. The Convention has not been subsequently ratified by any of the other Nordic countries either."[11]

Although the Convention had been ratified by 27 States by the end of 1981,[12] the effects were rather poor. This cannot be a surprise, because many concerned states - like Norway - hesitated to participate. But this is perhaps not the most important reason. More important seems to be the general problem of the relationship between a state and the protection of human rights in general vis-à-vis the individual and especially vis-à-vis groups. Eide describes the situation very convincing:

,,We live in a world composed of states. The role of the state in regard to its inhabitants varies considerably from one political system to another. But everywhere it is, to some extent, Janus-faced. It has two faces. Some see the good face of the state, as a protector, a mediator and at times as an instrument of welfare. Those who experience the state in this way, consider it to be 'their' state, a state which they influence and utilize to solve common problems. But some also see the bad face of the state. They see it as an instrument for control and repression, of socialization into the dominant values of society. They see it as an agency of the strong against the weak, and those who see it this way do not consider the state to be 'theirs', even though they must accept to live under the sway of its authority."[13]

Especially the indigenous peoples have the experience of the ,,bad face" of the state. This is primarily a consequence of their understanding of the function and the task of a ,,state", which was established without their support in ,,their" territories. This tension becomes obvious in the impressive Declaration of the Indigenous People of the Dene, which provides a typical example of their standpoint:

,,The Dene find themselves as a part of a country. That country is Canada. But the government of Canada is not the government of the Dene. This government was not the choice of the Dene, they were imposed upon the Dene."[14]

Therefore it was clear that the indigenous peoples were not interested in integration in such a ,,state". However, a great number of them were integrated or assimilated in societies against their will, sometimes with military force and political pressure. In cases where treaties between indigenous peoples and the colonizers exist,[15] they were very often violated and broken. One of the most complicated tasks for every codification in this field ,,is the consideration of methods of protection and guaranteeing the respect for these rights of indigenous peoples as well as to develop systems for interfacing between nation-states and the indigenous peoples' institutions."[16]

4. The Challenge of the Revision of Convention No. 107

In the 1980s the problem of the revision of Convention No. 107 appeared on the agenda of the ILO. This was due to two developments. The first was the very active work and the important influence of non-governmental organizations[17] of indigenous peoples, working at the national and international level:

,,Indigenous NGOs have major advantages in dealing with mechanisms of the international fora: first, they possess an enormous moral and ethical imperative; second, the process involved in international fora operate dynamically over relatively long periods of time as do traditional forms of decision making; and third, the necessary capacity for compromise and eventual consensus is well established in indigenous traditions."[18]

The second development was the new understanding of the right of self-determination after the process of decolonization and elaboration of the 1970 Declaration on Friendly Relations.[19] This document provides a cornerstone of the modern approach to the concept of self-determination. After this it became clear, that ,,integration should be the result of the freely expressed wishes of the territory's peoples acting with full knowledge of the change in their status, their wishes having been expressed through informed and democratic processes impartially conducted and based on universal adult suffrage. The United Nations could, when it deems it necessary, supervise these procedures."[20]

Closely connected with this understanding of the principle of self-determination was the international engagement in the struggle against discrimination. On several occasions the UN General Assembly commented in connection with its struggle against discrimination also upon on the well being and prosperity of indigenous peoples.[21] It shows the growing interest of the community of States in this subject that the UN Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities appointed José R. Martinez Cobo as Special Rapporteur for a Study of the Problem of Discrimination against Indigenous Populations in the early 1970s. This study, completed in 1983, is an important overview of the national and international situation of indigenous peoples.[22]

In the light of these developments in the 1970s it was clear for the ILO that there was a need for a modernization of some of the aspects of the Convention No. 107 which deal with self-determination, integration and prohibition of discrimination. On the other hand, some of the original articles have been reinforced by these developments:

,,While the Convention has been criticized for its emphasis on integration and assimilation, it contains significant provisions, for example Article 11 which stipulates that '(t)he right of ownership, collective or individual, of the members of the populations concerned over the lands which these populations traditionally occupy shall be recognized."'[23]

The World Council of Indigenous Peoples (WCIP) played a leading role in initiating the revision. During its Third Assembly, held in Canberra in April 1981, WCIP presented a draft. The basic approaches were fundamentally different from the ILO idea of integration. This became clear with the wording of Article 1:

,,All peoples have the right to self-determination. By virtue of that right indigenous peoples may freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development."

Article 3 goes on as follows:

,,One manner in which the right of self-determination can be realized is by the free determination of an Indigenous People to associate their territories and institutions with one or more states in a manner involving free association, regional autonomy, home rule or associate statehood as self governing unite. Indigenous People may freely determine to enter into such relationships and to alter those relationships after they have been established."

This draft has been a challenge for the traditional understanding of international law as a law which deals primarily with the relationship between sovereign states.[24] On the other hand this proposal was of a certain influence for the modernization of the ILO itself.[25] The Organization became aware that its integrationist approach was unacceptable to the indigenous peoples.

Under this impression the cooperation with the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations was intensified. This Working Group was proposed by the UN Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities[26]and was created in 1982 with the following mandate:

,,- review developments pertaining to the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous populations, including information requested by the Secretary-General annually from governments, specialized agencies, regional inter-governmental organizations and non-governmental organizations in consultative status, particularly those of indigenous peoples, to analyze such materials, and to submit conclusions to the Sub-Commission, bearing in mind the report of the Special Rapporteur of the Sub-Commission;

- give special attention to the evolution of standards concerning the rights of indigenous populations, taking account of both the similarities and the differences in the situations and aspirations of indigenous populations throughout the world."[27]

The Working Group was at this time drafting a Universal Declaration of Indigenous Rights, which was strongly influenced by the developments in the ILO. However, it also played an active role in the process of revision. But the legal difference between the tasks of the two bodies must be emphasized: A declaration should include general goals and objectives, but a convention is a legal instrument which creates binding obligations for the ratifying states.

In general, the international standard-setting concerning indigenous peoples has been a very slow process; but nevertheless, there is such a process.[28] This process is going on in different organs and organizations of the UN system, but it is a process with a high degree of unity. There is no conflict between either the procedures or the substance of the ILO Convention and the standards which the UN intends to adopt. The ILO standards are ,,designed to be minimum standards, in the sense that they are intended to establish a floor under the rights of indigenous and tribal peoples and, in particular, to establish a basis for government conduct in relations to them."[29]

5. The Convention No. 169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples

The revision of the Convention No. 107 began in 1986. After a meeting of experts the ILO decided to start this process. It was finished in 1989. In all the debates the NGOs of indigenous peoples took part. Nevertheless there were a lot of criticism concerning the procedure of drafting by these organizations:

,,...the results of the ILO initiative to update Convention No.107 (1957) by means of a new instrument (i.e. Convention No. 169) were received by a number of indigenous organizations with dismay and bitterness stemming from what they considered the very much restricted nature of their participation in the deliberations at the Conference and from actual contents of the new Convention."[30]

On the other hand, the result of the codification process has been accepted by the community of states with success: the vote for the adoption was 128 to 1 (Netherlands) and 49 abstentions.[31] This seems important, because other activities in this sphere ,,are received with apprehension by some Governments, which regret what in their view is undue attention to matters of relatively minor overall importance and pertaining, after all, to their domestic jurisdiction."[32]

These contradictions become understandable in connection with the main points of discussion.

A. ,,Peoples" versus ,,Populations" and ,,Minorities"

The most important and obvious difference one can note is that the Convention No. 169 refers to peoples and not to populations like the Convention 107. The legal consequences of this change are important. From the point of view of international law it should be emphasized that a population has nearly no juridical significance in international law. In general it is a group of individuals which may be of relevance for the domestic law of a state. An exception may be a population which consists of ethnic or religious groups of at least several thousand individuals,[33] established over a long period of time in a particular area and which is affected by expulsion and transfer.[34]

,,Peoples" is a term which is often used in international law, but there is no definition of that expression. In the case of indigenous peoples the description of their character as a people is rather clear:

,,Indigenous communities, peoples and nations are those which, having a historical continuity with pre-invasion and pre-colonial societies that developed on their territories, consider themselves distinct from other sectors of the societies now prevailing in those territories, or part of them. They form at present non-dominant sectors of society and are determined to preserve, develop and transmit to future generations their ancestral territories, and their ethnic identity, as a basis of their ethnic identity, in accordance with their own cultural patterns, social institutions and legal system."[35]

In the practical definition great importance has been attached to objective elements (ancestry, culture, language etc.) and subjective elements (self-identification and acceptance).

The consequences of the acceptance of the character of peoples for the indigenous are far-reaching. Peoples have the right to self-determination. This right is one of the basic principles of international law:

,,The rights of important groups such become particularly prominent in connection with the principle or rights, of self-determination, vi., the right of cohesive national groups ("people") to choose for themselves a form of political organization and their relation to other groups. The choice may be independence as a state, association with other groups in a federal state, or autonomy or assimilation in a unitary state."[36]

The definition of the right to self-determination makes understandable that the discussion over the term ,,peoples" versus ,,population" was extensive. There was also no doubt, that the opposition to the term ,,peoples" emanates from the fear of the states that if indigenous peoples were recognized as peoples they would assert their own right to self-determination. This right is a human right which is applicable to all peoples, as it is included in both UN Human Rights Covenants:

,,All peoples have the rights to self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.".[37]

Because of these far-reaching consequences some states considered indigenous peoples as ,,ethnic minorities"[38] and dealt with them in accordance with Article 27 of the International Convenant on Civil and Political Rights.[39] This Article reads:

,,In those States in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities exist, persons belonging to such minorities shall not be denied the right, in community with the other members of their group, to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practice their own religion, or to use their own language."

The wording of Article 27 shows that international law does not treat minorities as entities. Instead the rights are given to individuals. The contradiction is obvious, because these rights can only be practiced together with other individuals belonging to the same group. The background of this contradiction has been that the community of states hesitated to give minorities an international personality:

,,Such international personality, it was feared, might have given a minority the capacity to vindicate its rights before a competent international institution."[40]

Especially under these conditions Article 27 does not meet the needs of indigenous peoples. It is true that indigenous peoples are not always in a minority position. In some countries, indeed, ,,they may constitute the majority, so while it is appropriate to discuss them here they may only be minorities in the sociological sense of the term."[41] It should also be mentioned that Article 27 represents an international minimum standard, which is only indirectly relevant to the indigenous situation.[42] The Working Group identified the following points as important:

  • the right to land and other natural resources, including the right to water resources;

  • the right to autonomy and self-government including their own legal systems and their own customary law.

These rights are collective in nature. It is true that the development of a theory of collective human rights is not yet very advanced.[43] But this cannot mean that the enjoyment of these rights by the indigenous peoples may be reflected. Thus, Falk is right when writing:

,, ...we cannot approach the challenge of the relationship with indigenous people as long as it remains an abstraction that can be lumped with other categories of injustice. Instead it has a specific history or series of histories, that is bound up with our modernizing, development civilization. Unless that history is acknowledged and understood, it will be very difficult to make an appropriate response."[44]

The acceptance of these collective human rights of indigenous peoples is one of the acts of ,,understanding".

Doubtless the recognition of the collective character of indigenous rights by the using of the term ,,peoples" represents an important success for the protection of indigenous rights and an existing development in international law. But the success is bigger in theory than in practice, because the ILO added as a result of the fear of self-determination a qualifier to the term ,,peoples". Article 1 paragraph 3 reads:

,,The use of the term 'peoples' in this convention shall not be construed as having any implications as regards the rights which may attach to the term under international law."

Therefore there has been a necessity to explain this understanding of self-determination. Obviously it is used similar to some domestic legal orders, e.g. in Canada. The already-mentioned Declaration of the Dene is illustrative:

,,What we the Dene are struggling for is the recognition of the Dene Nation by the governments and peoples of the world. And while there are realities we are forced to submit to such as the existence of a country called Canada, we insist on the right to self-determination as a distinct people and the recognition of the Dene Nation ....What we seek then is independence and self-determination within the country of Canada. This is what we mean when we call for a just land settlement of the Dene Nation."[45]

This Declaration makes clear that there is a need to demystify the concept of self-determination in connection with the indigenous peoples. In this case it does ,,not mean statehood or independence or any sort of secession,"[46] but rather ,,self-development."[47]

It should be underlined that the positions of the indigenous peoples vary greatly from country to country.[48] However, in general it seems - and the ILO Convention supports this view - that there is a strong connection between the aspirations of indigenous peoples and concepts of autonomy:

,,Autonomy and self-government are determined primarily by the degree of actual as well as formal independence enjoyed by the autonomous entity in its political decision-making process. Generally autonomy is understood to refer to independence of action on the internal or domestic level, as foreign affairs and defence normally are in the hands of the central or national government, but occasionally power to conclude international agreements concerning cultural or economic matters also may reside with the autonomous entity."[49]

In the light of many problems with separatist movements in the whole world the concept of autonomy is of primary importance. The solution of the ILO seems therefore reasonable. It is regrettable that representatives of indigenous peoples do not share this opinion and consider the ILO Convention as a failure to recognize the indigenous world view:

,,In Convention 169, the term 'peoples' has been qualified to have no significance in international law. We do not accept this decision of the ILO. We still maintain our right to call ourselves people. Furthermore, we have the right to self-determination to determine our own international status."[50]

B. The Rights of Indigenous Peoples

The Convention contains a comprehensive catalogue of the rights of indigenous peoples. The starting point is Article 2, a kind of general clause of the whole document:

,,Governments shall have the responsibility for developing, with the participation of the peoples concerned, coordinated and systematic action to protect the rights of these peoples and to guarantee respect for their integrity."

Article 2 creates obligations of the government, primarily enabling the participation of indigenous peoples in the development of human rights protection. It is clear from the text that there is a need for positive action on the part of the States. The aim of this activity is formulated in sub-paragraph 2(c), ,,to eliminate socioeconomic gaps that may exist between indigenous and other members of the national community."

This obligation is a consequence of the principle of non-discrimination, which sometimes means to undertake affirmative action measures to overcome consequences of former discrimination. But the demand of non-discrimination, equality under the law and equal protection of the law are not particular to indigenous peoples. There are many reasons for the position that non-discrimination is a principle of customary international law[51] with ius cogens character.[52]

This principle is emphasized and developed in the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenants on Human Rights. The most notable expression of this principle one can find in the UN International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. It is interesting, that the participating States of that Convention explain in their state reports to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) their policy concerning indigenous peoples.[53]

The reports show that it is very common to protect indigenous peoples by the principle of non-discrimination. Therefore the criticism of some representatives of indigenous organizations, who fear a new kind of assimilation, seems to be a misunderstanding:

,,First, it is assumed that we want to be on an equal footing with the non-indigenous peoples; secondly, that the national laws and regulations constitute the proper system to ensure our rights; and thirdly, that our status within the socioeconomic order is one which we find a need to correct. This last assumption carries with it the racial prejudice that our lifestyle is inferior and unacceptable by implying a need to abandon our lifestyle to adopt the non-indigenous socio-economic system."[54]

That these fears in connection with this norm of the Convention are without any basis becomes obvious with the wording of Article 4, paragraph 2:

,,Such special measures shall not be contrary to the freely-expressed wishes of the peoples concerned."

It is in this sense, that Article 6 provides:

,,1. In applying the provisions of this convention, governments shall: (a) consult the peoples concerned, through appropriate procedures and in particular through their representative institutions, whenever consideration is being given to legislative or administrative measures which may affect them directly."

The underlying idea of the rule is that of cooperation between all concerned groups in society. However, the meaning of the term ,,consult" from the legal point of view is not that clear. The explanation of the Convention is that ,,consultation" shall be undertaken ,,in good faith and in a form appropriate to the circumstances, with the objective of achieving agreement or consent to the to the proposed measures."

The practice shows that the content of the term ,,consultation" is very often not satisfying. One can expect, at least, that it involves discussion between the parties in an attempt to reach an understanding. But the reality is different. Venne mentioned an example:

,,In Canada, the federal government customarily will mail letters to the chiefs, notifying them of new administrative or legislative changes, often without allowing them enough time to conduct an appropriate and thorough analysis of these changes. If the chiefs do not answer these letters within a certain limit, the government proceeds. When we complain about these changes, we are told that the letter itself was the only form of consultation."[55]

It is important for indigenous peoples to have the right to decide their own priorities for the process of development as it affects their lives (Article 7) and to retain their own customs and institutions.

Part II deals with the land. This issue has long been a principal claim of indigenous peoples. The developments in the last decades - the integration of the world system of production and consumption - have increased the pressure on the remaining land of indigenous peoples.[56]

,,Since the Second World War the number of incursions into indigenous peoples land has escalated worldwide. Once thought of as barren wastelands of little economic and political value, indigenous territories have now been identified as areas of vital national and even international importance ...With no untroubled or unconverted regions to retreat to, the native inhabitants have been forced to accept these invasions reluctantly, or else fight back "[57]

Considering also the special relationship between indigenous peoples and the land - the land is for such peoples not merely a possession and a means of production, but part of the spiritual life and therefore connected with many ,,deep-seated implications"[58] - it is understandable that this problem is of primary importance. Articles 13 and 14 recognize the land rights of indigenous peoples. Problems may be raised in relationship to the subsoil resources. Governments ,,shall establish or maintain procedures through they shall consult these peoples" in cases of exploitation. This norm is indeed not very exact: indigenous representatives reflect it as ,,truly shameful", because it enshrines the ,,concept of terra nullus".[59]

6. Conclusion

It may be asked if it makes sense to codify all the different kinds of human rights in international instruments. Sometimes criticism is understandable. But in relation to indigenous peoples, history has demonstrated tragically the need of international protection. Therefore the activities of the ILO are an important advance in acceptance of this obligation by the community of States. It is true that the Convention No. 169 does not meet all expectations,[60] but it creates a public forum for discussion of the problems of this kind of human rights. The activities of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations should be viewed in a similar light. It is to be hoped that the Universal Declaration on Indigenous Rights will be ready soon and that 1992, the Year of Indigenous Peoples[61] will be a very successful starting point for the full implementation of indigenous rights.

MEASURES AND INITIATIVES TAKEN TO COMBAT ANTISEMITISM, 1991 - '94

Introduction. Antisemitism - World Trends, 1991 - '94

The period of 1991-'94 was marked by a rise in expressions of antisemitism, resulting mainly from the collapse of the communist block in Europe and the reunification of Germany. The economic hardships, as well as the flood of political and economic refugees to the countries of Western and Central Europe, which ensued from these transformations, brought about the rise of ethnic tensions, including antisemitism. On the other hand the peace process between Israel and neighboring Arab countries which started in 1992, has changed the stance of some Arab political elites towards Jews, as expressed through public statements. At the same time, militant Islamic antisemitism became a growing threat to Jews and antisemitism from Islamic sources increased. In North America, antisemitism on the part of segments of the African American community rose, and in Japan a new harsh antisemitic author Ryu Ota even outdid such veteran antisemite as Masami Uno. During the period under discussion, cyberspace and the information highway served as a new vehicle for the dissemination of the messages of antisemitism.

  • The legal fight against antisemitism

  • Increased desire to combat antisemitism by punishing antisemites through the application of existing criminal law was encountered in many European countries, both in the West and in the East. One of the problems preventing prosecution is lack of special laws punishing the manifestations of antisemitism and neo-Nazism or the vagueness of existing laws. The legislation in many countries (including Canada, Spain and countries of the former communist block) were not prepared for the rise of these phenomena. Another problem is the leniency in the application of the law against offenders, or, in some cases - inability or reluctance of the authorities to prosecute.

  • Recognition by international organizations of antisemitism as a specific form of racial prejudice and posts established.

  • Council of Europe/CSCE/European Union: Prior to the period under discussion, the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe was the only intergovernmental body to refer explicitly to antisemitism (Copenhagen Document, 1990). In 1993, the Council of Europe, at its Vienna Summit identified, for the first time, antisemitism per se as a social evil and adopted a plan of action on combating racism, xenophobia, antisemitism and intolerance. It also established the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance. The European Parliament followed suit in its Resolution of April 21, 1993. The latter resolution is unique in being the most strongly worded and in being the first to recognize Holocaust denial as a danger and as an integral part of racist agitation. Following its annual debate on racism and xenophobia in 1994, the Parliament resolved to condemn "once more, in even stronger terms, racism in all its forms, xenophobia and antisemitism and the intolerance in any form of religious discrimination." In April 1993, CSCE extended its rejection of antisemitism by resolving that "Aggressive Nationalism, racism...and antisemitism create ethnic, political and social tensions..." and by adding "antisemitism" to the mandate of the CSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities. In its 1994 Review Conference (Budapest) CSCE condemned "manifestations of intolerance, and especially aggressive nationalism, racism, chauvinism, xenophobia and antisemitism" and encouraged national legislation that would "deter manifestations of these phenomena." The European Council in its meeting in June 1994, established a consultative commission to look at the continuing rise of racism and xenophobia and make proposals. This step was taken to implement a decision of the Council condemning the continuing manifestations of these evils and reaffirming its determination to fight them.

  • UN: In March 1993 the UN Human Rights Commission became the first UN body to formally condemn antisemitism as one of the world's social evils as part of a resolution on "measures to combat contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia..." This came after decades during which the UN rejected such proposals. Even the World Conference on Human Rights, held in Vienna in June 1993, failed to identify antisemitism per se in its Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, despite the recommendation made by the Forum of Non-Governmental Organizations - although the Declaration was forthright on the issue of racism and other related forms of intolerance. The U.N., though, did create during this period two posts which could contribute to the fight against antisemitism: the High Commissioner for Human Rights, established by decision of the General Assembly in December 1993; the Special Rapporteur "on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia and related intolerance", which, among other things, was specifically charged with monitoring manifestations of antisemitism, established by the UN Commission on Human Rights in February 1993 (the Rapporteur's first report on antisemitism was published in 1995.

  • New national legislation directed against antisemitic activities.

  • The main trends in this area in Western Europe were the strengthening of laws against neo-Nazi and racist activities and the enactment of laws punishing Holocaust denial. A number of national parliaments which debated proposals to specify antisemitism as a unique form of racial prejudice in their legislation, rejected these proposals, e.g. Netherlands (November 1993.
    1992, February. Austria - The National Assembly amended the legislation of 1947, prohibiting open National-Socialist activity; although the legislation also lowered the minimum sentence for such convictions from 5 years to 1, the denial of the Holocaust, as well as its "crude trivialisation", became specific criminal offenses.
    1992. Belgium - A draft law against Holocaust denial and vindication of crimes against humanity was proposed in parliament by the Socialist party. (Following lengthy debate the law was passed in January 1995). In the meantime (1993-4) the antiracist legislation of 1981 was employed in a number of cases.
    1992, November. Russia - A discussion in the Committee on Human Rights of the Supreme Soviet of Russia, as well as in the press, concerning Article 74 of the Russian Criminal Code, which punishes incitement to ethnic and racial strife. Moscow City Council's Human Rights Committee chaired by Valery Fadeev submitted to the parliament a draft law, substituting the ineffective Article 74 (pending
    1993, April. Italy - A law against racism enabling the suppression of racists and antisemitic groups was enacted by the Italian Senate (Mancio Law). Subsequently, the courts made a series of rulings based on the law.
    1993, February. The Netherlands - New anti-discrimination legislation was enacted specifying different forms of discrimination.
    1993. Spain - The parliamentary faction of the Popular Party submitted a bill to modify the basic penal code relating to the legal classification of Holocaust denial; some leaders called for national legislation to prevent dissemination of Nazi and antisemitic propaganda in Spain. In 1994 the Parliament also debated legislation of a law prohibiting Holocaust denial (pending.
    1993, Spring. Sweden - Maximum sentence for the desecration of cemeteries - an outrage which traditionally targeted Jewish cemeteries - was raised from 6 months' imprisonment to 2 years.
    1993, April. Hungary - The public use of Nazi and communist insignia is outlawed.
    1993, June. Switzerland - The Anti-Racist Law, under which public displays of racism, antisemitism and Holocaust denial are punishable offenses, was passed in both houses of parliament. The law was approved by referendum in September '94. The neo-Nazi paper "Eidgenoss" was subsequently closed based on this law.
    1993. France - A legal decree established 16 July as the day of commemoration for "the victims of acts of racial and antisemitic persecutions" committed under the Vichy government.
    1993. Estonia - The "Protocols of the Elders of Zion", an infamous antisemitic tome, was banned.
    1993. Romania - Dissemination of "Mein Kampf" was banned; the Supreme Court later ruled the ban unconstitutional.
    1994. Venezuela - The serialization of "Mein Kampf" in a London-based tabloid in Caracas was prevented by the Bavarian government (which holds the copyright) at the request of B'nai B'rith.
    1994. Hungary - President Goncz introduced a bill amending the criminal code to allow more prosecutions for incitement to racial and religious hatred (expected to be debated in 1995.
    1994, March. France - Parliament amended the penal code to increase prison terms and fines for persons found guilty of discriminating on the basis of race, religion or appearance.
    1994, November. Australia - Bill introduced to make incitement to racial hatred a federal offense.
    1994, December. Belgium - Bill introduced to outlaw Holocaust denial (passed in 1995.
    1994, December. Germany - A bill was enacted establishing a five-year jail sentence for denying the Holocaust; the bill also extended an existing ban against using Nazi symbols, slogans and signs.

  • Administrative and judicial measures.

  • Suppression of neo-Nazi activities.
    1991. Argentina The right-wing extremist PNT party was prevented (on the basis of the anti-discrimination law of 1988) from calling itself the National Socialist Party and using the swastika as the party emblem.
    1992-3. Germany - Police raid radical right centers.
    1992-3. Austria - Several publishers of neo-Nazi periodicals were brought to trial and sentenced: G.Honsik (May 1992), W.Ochsenberger and F.Rebhandl (1992); G. Kuessel, a neo-Nazi leader, was sentenced to a 10-year prison term (September 1993); however many other cases were suspended or dropped.
    1993. Great Britain - A number of members of Blood and Honour, BNP, NF and Combat 18 were punished for the dissemination of neo-Nazi literature, illegal possession of firearms and other offenses.
    1993, October. Spain - The interior ministry prevented 94 neo-Nazis, mainly from France and Italy, from entering the country for an international neo-Nazi meeting.
    1993-94. Germany - Several neo-Nazi organizations were banned: Nationale Offensive (1993), Deutsche Alternative (1993), Nationaler Block (1993), Heimattreue Vereinigung Deutschland (1993), Nationalistische Front (1993), Wiking Jugend (1994), and others.

  • Suppression of antisemitic activities.
    1992-93. Great Britain - During this period some thirty individuals were prosecuted for various antisemitic acts ranging from attacks on Jewish facilities to distribution of antisemitic materials.
    1992. France - A number of antisemitic publicists, book sellers and activists were punished in France.
    1992, October. Sweden - David Janzon, a co-worker of Radio Islam, was sentenced to 4 months' imprisonment for the station's agitation "against an ethnic group" (Jews). Ahmed Rami, the editor-in-chief of RI, announced his decision to close the radio station.
    1992, Fall. The Netherlands A suit was submitted against satirical columnist Theo van Gogh, who placed antisemitic jokes and cartoons in his journal, especially regarding the Holocaust.
    1992, June. Russia A.Batogov, publisher and editor of a chauvinistic and antisemitic paper, was arrested under article 74 of the Criminal Code.
    1993, February. Turkey The trial against 4 men arrested for the bombing the Neve Shalom synagogue in Istanbul was held; two of the assailants received 10 years 10 month sentence, 1 - 10 months sentence, 1 was acquitted.
    1993. France - Measures taken against radical right newspapers "Present", "National Hebdo", "Rivarol" and "Le Choc Du Mois"; activists of the extreme right and antisemitic L'Ouevre Francaise movement were arrested.
    1993, November. Great Britain - Lady Birdwood, an antisemitic agitator, was found guilty of disseminating her antisemitic writings and was given a suspended prison sentence.
    1993, October. Finland - J.A.Ahonen was fined heavily and sentenced to a 1 year imprisonment for the desecration of the Jewish cemetery in Turku in July.
    1993. Slovakia the Bratislava city court rejected its claim and confirmed that it was antisemitic-The editor of the "Zmena" weekly sued Professor P.Taubner, who described the journal as antisemitic. Zmena lost the case .
    1993. Hungary - The editor of the antisemitic journal "Szent Korona", Laszlo Romhanyi, was sentenced to 6 months' suspended imprisonment. However other editors, responsible for similar publications, were acquitted.
    1993, July. Greece Ghiorgos Kapsalis, the publisher of "Stokhos", was sentenced to 5 months' imprisonment for publishing an article which called for the destruction of Jewish monuments.
    1993-1994. The Netherlands - Sentence was passed on teenagers arrested for the desecration of the Jewish cemetery in Middleburg.
    1994. Italy - Based on the new law (see sec. 1.2. above), Alessandro di Martino, a member of the neo-Nazi Movimento Politico Occidentale, was tried and sentenced.
    1994. Great Britain - Hizb ut-Tahrir party was banned in a number of universities.
    1994, January, Czech Republic J.Tomas, editor of the antisemitic weekly "Politika", was sentenced to 1 year in prison and to a three-year publication ban.
    It must be noted, that in East and Central European countries, judicial authorities showed leniency in application of the law against antisemites. E.g., in 1992 in Poland, case against B.Jeznach and M.Giertych was dropped; the trial against B.Tejkowski was suspended in 1992; only in 1994 did this notorious antisemite receive a suspended sentence of 2 years.

  • Prosecution of Holocaust deniers and revisionists

  • 1991 - 1994. In Canada, the Ernst Zundel case continued without conclusion.
    1991. France - Trials against revisionists were held; A. Guionnet, the publisher of "Revision", was imprisoned for several months, the others fined heavily.
    1991. Germany E.Zundel was taken into custody in Munich; the Austrian neo-Nazi Karl Polacek was sentenced to 8 months, fined and expelled to Austria.
    1992, November. Spain - The Constitutional Court ruled on the case of Violeta Friedman against Leon Degrelle, who had questioned the existence of Nazi gas chambers, on the basis of inflicting injury on Holocaust survivors.
    1992, May. Austria - G. Honsik, the publisher of a neo-Nazi monthly magazine, was the first person, convicted in Austria for denying the Holocaust.
    1992. Germany - Veteran Nazi agitator O. Remer was sentenced to 22 months' imprisonment for Holocaust denial and to 4 months' suspended sentence for distributing video cassettes of revisionist contents.
    1992 - 1993. The Netherlands S. Verbeke was banned by a court from distributing a pamphlet denying the Holocaust published by Belgian VHO. His appeal was rejected.
    1993, France - R. Faurisson was fined (F10,000). His video was banned from sale in 1994 in Switzerland.
    1993. France - Several persons were punished with fines and short prison sentences for the spreading the message of Holocaust denial.
    1993, January. Germany D. Irving was fined 30,000 DM in Germany; in February, he was refused permission to visit Australia for a speaking tour organized by the extremist League of Rights. In 1994, Irving was refused the special permission he needed to visit the Republic of South Africa.
    1994. France - The owners of two book shops selling antisemitic materials were prosecuted.
    1994. In Germany, trials were held against Holocaust deniers: G. Rudolf, G.Deckert, E. Althans, J. Witzsch; the latter three sentenced.

  • The fight against antisemitism on the public level

  • In many cases, public actions against antisemitism are conducted within the context of broader actions against racism, discrimination, etc. Many of the public bodies engaged in these actions do not specify antisemitism explicitly as one of their targets but rather have a broad mandate to combat racism and further human rights.

  • Statements condemning antisemitism made by prominent public figures

  • 1991. Sweden - The leaders of the Liberal Party, Centre Party and Christian Democratic Party condemned antisemitism in one or more occasions, as well as Per Ahlmark, former deputy Prime Minister and public activist; the leaders of Conservatives and Social Democratic Party publicly condemned racism without special reference to antisemitism.
    1990 - 1991, Great Britain - Prime Ministers M. Thatcher and J. Major and opposition leader N.Kinnock addressed the Jewish community with the statements supporting the Jews of Britain; Archbishop of Canterbury and Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster (Catholic) made positive statements on Jewish matters.
    1991, September, USSR - In an official message on the 50th anniversary of the Babi Yar massacre by the Nazis, President M. Gorbachov acknowledged that persecution of Jews had taken place in the USSR despite official rhetoric deploring it.
    1991-1994. Argentina - Anti-Jewish attacks, especially the bombing of the Israeli embassy (1992), the bombing of the Jewish Community's center (1994) and attacks against the San-Salvador synagogue and the Berazategui cemetery (1991), gave rise to an outpouring of sympathy for the Jewish community from all sections of Argentina's body politic, including President C. Menem, former president Alfonsin, Cardinal Primatesta and E. Menem, head of the upper house of the parliament.
    1994, June. U.S.A - Speaking at the French National Assembly during D-Day celebrations, President W. Clinton warmed against "militant nationalism...and the rise of skinheads, antisemitism and other hatreds."
    1991 - 1994. Political leaders in some Eastern and Central European countries made statements condemning antisemitism in their respective countries and promising to take measures against it: President Havel of Czechoslovakia; Government of Hungary; representatives of the Bulgarian government at their meetings with the leadership of the "Shalom" Jewish communal organization; President Walesa of Poland, during his visit to the USA and France. In 1993, President Kovac of Slovakia condemned antisemitic utterances; in September 1994 he expressed his concern about "forces of extreme nationalism and antisemitism pushing themselves forward". In 1994 Havel reaffirmed his readiness to suppress extremism, racism and antisemitism in the Czech Republic.
    A number of public organizations in these countries also made statements condemning antisemitism, criticizing the government's passivity in combating antisemitism and trying to draw public attention to the dangers of racism and xenophobia: e.g., in 1992, in Czechoslovakia, the Slovakian Human Movement criticized the authorities for leaving fascist and xenophobic utterances "without appropriate civic and political answer"; in Russia, in the last years, a number of public figures condemned the government for passivity in its stance to antisemitism and characterized the laws on the issue as imperfect. In Poland, the mainstream press played a major role in unmasking antisemitic trends and in continuing the dialogue on Polish-Jewish relations. In Russia also the mainstream media continued to condemn antisemitism.
    1992, October. Austria - After the desecration of the Jewish cemetery in Eisenstadt, Chancellor F.Vranitzky led a vigil at the cemetery, which was attended by leading personalities from the art and the church.
    1992. Germany - Jewish Community leader I. Bubis called on German politicians to take energetic measures against violence and xenophobia.
    1992. Italy - President O.Scalfaro condemned antisemitism on several occasions.
    1992, March. Spain - On the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the edict to expel the Jews from Spain, King Juan Carlos visited the Madrid synagogue and welcomed the Jews back to their home.
    1993. Finland - Several statements were made by politicians and the media condemning the desecration of the Jewish cemetery in Turku in July.
    1993. RSA - President N. Mandela mentioned antisemitism as one of the forms of racism from which the citizens of the RSA must be protected. He paid tribute to Jews for being "disproportional represented among our white compatriots in the liberation struggle".
    1993. Germany - In light of numerous xenophobic attacks, leading politicians, church representatives and other organizations used official occasions to condemn antisemitism. At the 150th anniversary of the B'nai B'rith, the federal youth minister, Angelika Merkel, demanded that the crimes committed by the Nazis against the Jews should never be forgotten.
    1994. Italy - Statements against antisemitism were made by prominent politicians, including Prime Minister Berlusconi.
    1994, July. Hungary - On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Holocaust in Hungary, Prime Minister Gyula Horn and other government ministers forthrightly condemned antisemitism and expressed apology concerning the Holocaust.
    Special mention should be made of several statements and steps taken by some Arab leaders in the recent years. In 1992, during the visit of the French chief rabbi to the country, the President of Tunisia Ben Ali confirmed his country's feelings of friendship toward the Jews, and promised to do everything possible to ensure that the Jews of Tunisia would be able to live undisturbed by antisemitism. In 1992, in Morocco, several ministers publicly expressed regret at the way the Jewish community had been treated in the past; Moroccan-born Israelis were allowed into the country, and a visit to Casablanca by a former French chief rabbi received positive coverage in the Moroccan media. In 1993, the president of Morocco's Jewish Community Council, Serge Berdugo, was appointed minister of tourism. In 1994, however, under the pressure of the opposition, King Haasan dismissed Berdugo, as well as his Jewish economic advisor, Andre Azoulai.
    On 23.6.1993, in a speech broadcast on Jordanian television, during his visit to Washington, King Hussein of Jordan stressed his hope for improved Jewish-Arab relations. In October 1993, a delegation of 10 Jewish communal leaders from Britain visited Jordan in order to participate in an inter-faith meeting of the "three Abrahamitic faiths" which was held under the joint auspices of the Duke of Edinburgh and the Crown Prince Hasan of Jordan. In December the Crown Prince Hasan announced that he would join the British-based Inter-parliamentary Council Against Antisemitism.
    In Lybia, in an interview with the International Herald Tribune on 16.4.1993, Qaddafi declared: "Were it not for the problem of Palestine, I would be the first to defend the Jews in the world". He made some other statements favorable to the Jews, while condemning Zionism. In February 1993, Qaddafi met with Rafaello Fella, the head of the Italian-based World Organization of Lybian Jews. However, in the same year he made several blatantly antisemitic statements.

  • Public action against antisemitism

  • 1991. France - Statements and public action against antisemitism were not explicit and were integrated into activities against racism, xenophobia and intolerance.
    1991, October-December. Mexico - In the context of the repeal of the 1975 UN resolution equating Zionism with racism, about 40 articles condemning the resurgence of neo-Nazism, racism and antisemitism were published in the press.
    1992. Czech Republic - Cultural associations condemned the antisemitic weekly "Politika" and collected signatures on protest manifestos.
    1992, March. Sweden - Demonstrations against the visit of Faurisson.; demonstrations were held also in November-December in Stockholm and Malmoe against cemetery desecration.
    1992, June. Austria - A festival in Vienna against racism and antisemitism attracted about 30,000 participants.
    1992, June. Russia - About 7,000 people took part in an anti-fascist rally in front of the Ostankino television center in Moscow.
    1992, June. Ukraine 4 Kiev city councilors called for action against the paper "Slovo" for inciting intra-national discord.
    1992, November. Germany - After the attack on the Jewish Holocaust memorial in Sachsenhausen, a national protest was organized in Berlin, in which some 300,000 people attended.
    1992. France Several demonstrations against Front National and racism took place; a demonstration was held )on 9.11.1992 in Paris, to commemorate on the anniversary of the Kristallnacht ("Night of the Broken Glass" in 1938 when Nazi troops and agitators destroyed synagogues across Germany.
    1992. Poland A demonstration was held in Wroclaw on the anniversary of Kristallnacht.
    1992. Romania - On several occasions, intellectuals rallied against antisemitism. In November, representatives of 8 centrist parties rallied to a "SOS appeal" and attended a meeting at the Choral synagogue of Bucharest to discuss ways of combating the growing tide of antisemitism.
    1992, November. Italy - On the anniversary of Kristallnacht, 30,000 participated in demonstrations in 31 Italian cities; 28.11 - march against antisemitism in Rome, Milan and Bari and other cities; 29.11 - another march of solidarity with the Jews in Rome. the march drew some 250,000 participants, including Chancellor Vranitzky and Foreign Minister Mock;1993, January. Austria - A candlelit march sponsored by the organization SOS-Mitmenschen, in reaction to a xenophobic petition initiated by FPO .
    1993. The Netherlands - Several country-wide campaigns against racism including annual anti-racist demonstration (20,000 attendants), radio-campaign, pop-music festivals.
    1993. Turkey - The assassination attempt on the head of the Jewish Community Jack Kamhi (28.1.1993) provoked strong condemnation from official quarters and the press. There were several pro-Jewish articles in the press by leading columnist responding to antisemitic publications, including the reports about Israel's alleged extraction of the organs of Bosnian children.
    1994, July. Argentina - 150,000 people attended a demonstration, one of the largest in a decade, in Buenos Aires's central square to protest the bombing of the AMIA building. The sense of solidarity between the Jewish and general community was expressed by on of the slogans on display: "We are all Argentine Jews." Similar demonstrations were held in other cities across Argentina as well as in Brazil and Uruguay.
    1994, December. Denmark - Demonstrations were held against the arrival of the Holocaust denier T.Christoffersen.

  • Public organizations established to combat antisemitism

  • 1991. Great Britain - The Inter-Parliamentary Council Against Antisemitism was established with the aim of speaking out on antisemitism worldwide.
    1991, March. Poland - A Council on Polish-Jewish Relations was established by the President Walesa.
    1992. Canada - In Ontario the Canadian Jewish Congress forged a coalition with the Native Canadian Centre. British Columbia Jews began to work together with anti-racist organizations. 1991. Canada - The Coalition for Human Equality was formed in Winnipeg, Canada, in which B'nai Brith's League for Human Equality is a key member .
    1992. Sweden Holocaust Survivors' Organization established; from this year on it has conducted (together with the Swedish Committee against Antisemitism) educational work in the schools.
    1992, December - The Norwegian group against antisemitism was founded.
    1992. Brazil - The Jewish Federation of Sao Paulo created a permanent commission to fight racism. The Movement of Democratic Entities was formed to oppose the growing neo-Nazi movement.
    1993. Belgium - The federal government created the Center for Equality of Opportunity and the Fight against Racism; it received official support from the prime minister, Queen Paola and some other officials.
    1993. Sweden - A parliament committee against antisemitism was formed, uniting some 40 parliamentarians from all parties. 1994, Spring. Great Britain - The United Campaign Against Racism (UCAR) was formed.
    1994, October. Slovak Republic - The government decided to form a special agency to combat racism, xenophobia, antisemitism and intolerance.

  • Public commemoration of the Holocaust.

  • 1991-1994 through a joint effort of B'nai B'rith, the World Jewish Congress, the Jewish Agency, the Public Council for Soviet Jewry, Yad Vashem and the Israeli Government. Hundreds of ceremonies held in North America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Latin America and Australia every Holocust day in April "Public commemorations of the Holocaust through the recitation of names of Holocaust victims, have been coordinated around the world under the banner of "Unto Every Person There is a Name .
    1991, September. Ukraine - Ceremonies commemorating the Babi Yar massacre of Kiev Jews by the Nazis took place throughout the USSR.
    1992, November. Norway - The government organized a meeting, attended by the King and the speaker of the parliament, to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the German deportation of the Jews of Norway.
    1993, October. Denmark - A commemoration marking the 50th anniversary of the rescue of Danish Jewry in the Second World War was organized; a televised thanksgiving service took place in the Copenhagen synagogue, which was attended by Queen Margrethe, her husband Prince Henrik, the Queen Mother and members of government as well as representatives of the wartime resistance and many foreign ambassadors.
    1993. France - Under the legal decree which established 16 July as the day of commemoration for the victims of the Vichy regime, the first commemoration took place in Paris on the site of Velodrome d'Hiver.
    1993. Italy - Marco Formentini, the mayor of Milan and Archbishop Cardinal Maria Martini attended a commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the promulgation the racial laws in Mussolini's Italy at the Central synagogue in Milan.
    1993, April. Poland - On the 50th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, Israeli Prime Minister Rabin and US Vice-President Gore visited Poland. Pope John Paul II sent a letter to the Jews of Poland and called on Christian and Jews to work together to combat antisemitism.
    1993. Belarus. The ceremony on the 50th anniversary of the liquidation of the Minsk ghetto was attended by President Shushkevich.

  • Statements recognizing the responsibility of the country for the collaboration of the parts of its population in the Nazi genocide against the Jews and condemnation of this collaboration.

  • 1991, May. President of Poland Walesa recognized that there had been Poles who took part in the genocide of Jews.
    1991, September. Ukraine - At a ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of the Babi Yar massacre of Kiev Jews, the Ukrainian leader Kravchuk acknowledged that Ukrainians were partly responsible for it.
    1991. Latvia - The Parliament acknowledged the complicity of Latvians in the Holocaust.
    1992. Lithuania - The government annulled a number of rehabilitation's (of Lithuanians convicted by the Soviet regime), when the rehabilitated individuals had participated in mass murders of Jews.
    1994. Hungry - The Foreign Minister conveyed an apology to the Jewish people for the role Hungary played in the Holocaust. A similar statement was made by the hierarchy of the Hungarian Roman Catholic Church.

  • Academic means in fighting antisemitism

  • Files opened

  • 1992 - President of Argentina C.Menem ordered the opening of all state archives relating the existence of Nazi war criminals in Argentina. Jewish researchers were invited to study them. The DAIA Jewish umbrella organization established the Testimony Project to build an archive of documents and oral testimonies on the arrival and activities of Nazis in Argentina, the ideological influence of Nazism and the response of the civil society.

  • Statements, publications, etc.

  • 1992. Romania - A number of intellectuals (C.Nistorescu, M.Tatulici, A.Pippidi) spoke out against the rehabilitation of Antonescu, the wartime Romanian dictator and organizer of the genocide of Romanian Jews, and led public discussions on antisemitism.
    1994, October. Sweden - A book "Rami - Bergmann affair" by H.Arvidsson was published.
    It is worthwhile to note the rise of interest in Jewish subjects, including Judaism, Jewish history, Judaica, history of antisemitism, in some countries of the former communist bloc (where such studies were suppressed under the communist regime), and foremost in Poland and Czechoslovakia/Czech Republic. This interest has been manifested in the publication of books, both scholarly works and fiction, television programs and many analytical articles on antisemitism in the press.
    1992. Poland - The Polish State Treasury created the Eternal Memory Foundation for the preservation and reconstruction of Jewish monuments and the Center for Education and Information on Jewish Culture was opened in Warsaw. In September 1993, a Warsaw literary prize was awarded to the book "The Remnant: Contemporary Polish Jews" by Malgorzata and Tomasz Niezabitowski.
    Among the books countering the Holocaust denial, "Assassins of Memory" by Pierre Vidal-Naquet (1993), "Denying the Holocaust" by Deborah R.Lipstadt (1993), and "Les Crematoirs d'Auschwitz" by JeanClaude Pressac (1993) may be mentioned.

  • Conferences

  • .

    1992. A number of conferences and symposia on Polish Jewish history took place in Poland and in Israel. Conferences on the usurping of antisemitism in the recent years and on the ways to combat it were held in Paris (under the aegis of the UNESCO and the Simon Weisenthal Center, Spring 1992), Brussel (June 1992), Berlin (Fall 1992), London (under the aegis of the Institute for Jewish Affairs, December 1993), Tel Aviv (under the aegis of the Project for the Study of Antisemitism, Tel Aviv University, Fall 1993). Three major conference were held during 1994 in Strasbourg on tolerance and human rights in Europe: "Europe Versus Intolerance"; "Europe against Discrimination; Vigilant for Democracy and Freedom"; "European Encounter of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights."
    Academic conferences on the Holocaust were held in London (January 1992, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Wannsee conference), in Berlin (Remembering for the Future II, March 1994), in Argentina (1993), and in other places.

  • Education against the prejudice

  • 1991. Sweden An exhibition and lecture series on antisemitism organized by the Amsterdam-based Anne Frank Foundation, was held in the Stockholm Cultural Center.
    1991. Great Britain - Education about the Holocaust is included in the national education curriculum.
    1992. Austria - The Ministry of Education and Arts introduced a number of measures to combat antisemitism and neo-Nazi influence in the schools, including a national essay competition on antisemitism.
    1992, November. Italy - The Ministry of Public Education promised to produce audio-visual presentation featuring Jewish history.
    1992. Canada - Quebec's Department of Education encouraged students to participate in an international essay contest on antisemitism organized by the Israeli government. The Ontario Anti-Racism Secretariat declared antisemitism a form of racism and initiated educational and political action against it.
    1993, November. Vienna - The Jewish Museum opened in Vienna; its exhibition includes also the history of antisemitism in Austria.
    1993, February. France - The French Union of Jewish Students organized visits of some 200 schoolchildren, students and teachers to about 20 cites where French Jews had been interned during the Second World War.
    1993, January. Italy - Prime Minister G.Amato called for a revision of school curricula in order to instill anti-racist values in pupils. In April, the National Council for Public Instruction made a number of recommendations on this point. Special training courses for teachers were held in many regions. Hundreds of schools throughout the academic year held educational exhibitions, conferences, lectures and film screenings on antisemitism.
    1993 - 1994. Sweden - The Swedish Committee against Antisemitism published booklet "The Eternal Hate" on the case of "Radio Islam"; 7000 copies were distributed to schools and libraries; it intensified efforts to reach teachers and pupils.
    1993 - 1994. Colombia - The Jewish community organized a 6-week educational program designed to counter antisemitism and the effects of Holocaust-denial literature, including the mounting of an exhibition "The World of Anne Frank".
    1994. Jordan - As a dividend of the establishment of peace between Israel and Jordan the Jordanian Ministry of Education announced that it would reform social studies curriculum to remove derogatory statements about Jews.
    1994 - The Steven Spielberg film "Schindlers List" served as an effective means of countering antisemitism and Holocaust denial.

  • Monitoring

  • Jewish organizations together with research institutes engaged in systematic monitoring of antisemitism, including: The Institute of Jewish Affair and the American Jewish Committee (publishing "Antisemitism World Report"), the Project for the Study of Antisemitism at the Tel Aviv University, ("Anti-Semitism Worldwide"), Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith ("Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents" and other publications), and other local and regional Jewish organizations. Year-by-year, country-wide monitoring of antisemitic activities is conducted in: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, UK, USA. The Israel Government Monitoring Forum also issues periodic reports on antisemitism around the world.
    Other initiatives:
    1991 - 1993. France - Special units were established by the Ministry of Interior in a number of departments to record acts of racism and antisemitism.
    1992, Spring. Ukraine - A section for monitoring antisemitism was set up by the Nationalities Council of the Rukh movement.

  • Interfaith and Church Activities

  • Interfaith and Church activities to counter antisemitism during 1991-1994 are marked with a continued acceptance by the Church of its historic role in encouraging antisemitism and its moral responsibility today to engage in action to counter this phenomena.
    1991, January. Poland - An episcopal letter marking the 25th anniversary of "Nostra Aetate" was read in all churches.
    1992, April. Switzerland - The Switzerland Conference of Catholic Bishops and Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities signed a joint declaration condemning the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492.
    1992. Great Britain - Meetings was held by the Jewish community with Hindu, Sikh and Afro-Caribbean religious and lay leaders.
    1992, November. Addressing German bishops, the Pope condemned racism and antisemitism.
    1993, March. Greece - An interfaith dialogue in Athens between representatives of Orthodox churches and International Jewish Committee for Inter-religious Consultations. Final communique stressed the need to tackle the challenges of racism, antisemitism and xenophobia.
    1993, May. Poland - The 4th Theological Symposium "The Church, Jews and Judaism" was organized by the Academy of Catholic Theology and the Episcopal Commission for Dialogue with Judaism.
    1993, October. Poland -In the Zoliborz quarter of Warsaw, the Jewish festival of Simhat Tora was organized at a Catholic church by the Polish Council of Christians and Jews. The Council participated also in the work of a delegation of the American Center for Christian-Jewish Dialogue in July.
    1993, October. Hungary - The Hungarian Catholic Bishops Conference repeated the words of the Pope in his declaration that "antisemitism and racial discrimination are a sin against God and humanity".
    1993, December. Israel - The Fundamental Agreement between the Vatican and Israel was signed, establishing full diplomatic relations between the two states. Article 2 states "The Holy See and the State of Israel are committed to appropriate cooperation in combating all forms of antisemitism and all kinds of racism and religious intolerance...The Holy See takes this occasion to reiterate its condemnation of hatred, persecution, and all other manifestations of antisemitism directed against the Jewish people and individual Jews anywhere, at any time and by anyone..."
    1993. Australia - The Uniting Church of Australia condemned the activities of D.Irving, a Holocaust denier.
    1994, December. January 1991,. Poland - The Episcopal letter on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the "Nostra Aetate" Switzerland - At the re-opening of the synagogue in Zurich, leaders of the Protestant and Catholic Churches, as well as the mayor of Zurich, spoke against antisemitism.
    1991-1994. U.S.A. - A number of churches including the Presbyterian Church, the United Church of Christ, the Lutherans, the Catholic Church made statements condemning antisemitism. In 1994 AJComm and ADL consulted with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America on the declaration, in which the Church forthrightly repudiated the antisemitic writings of Martin Luther.
    1994, February. Israel - Over 500 Christian and Jewish leaders from 97 countries met in Jerusalem for the largest interfaith conference ever held in Israel.
    1994, April. Rome - Pope hosts concert at the Vatican to commemorate Holocaust on Holocaust Memorial Day.
    1994, May. Church leaders from sixteen European countries joined Archbishop of Canterbury in formally denouncing racism and antisemitism.
    1994, October. Rome - In a new book, the Pope reiterated his condemnation from the Prague Declaration of 1990, of antisemitism as a sin against god and humanity.