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[06/07/2017, Rome] Italian parliament’s Jo Cox Committee on hate, intolerance, xenophobia and racism adopts final report

[06/07/2017, Rome] Italian parliament's Jo Cox Committee on hate, intolerance, xenophobia and racism adopts final report

In May 2016, accepting a call addressed to parliaments of Council of Europe member States by the No Hate Alliance, Italy's Chamber of Deputies set up a special committee on hate, intolerance, xenophobia and racism, in charge of studying hate phenomena and providing recommendations on how to counter them.

 

This committee, composed of one member of parliament for each political group, as well as independent experts and representatives of international governmental and non-governmental organisations, was chaired by Speaker Laura Boldrini. It was later named after Jo Cox, the British parliamentarian murdered during the Brexit referendum campaign. Deputy Secretary General Gabriella Battaini Dragoni and two members of the secretariat, respectively of ECRI and the Parliamentary Assembly, represented the Council of Europe within the committee.

On 6 July 2017, the Jo Cox Committee adopted its final report. The document presents evidence of high levels of prejudice and misinformation in Italy, with widespread forms of intolerance and discrimination based on grounds such as gender, ethnic origin, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity. The report describes a "pyramid of hate", an effective visual representation of how negative stereotyping and misrepresentation, which constitute the base of the pyramid, lead to discrimination and then to hate speech, which in turn escalates into hate crimes.

While it cooperated with the Council of Europe and made use of its work, including ECRI general policy recommendations and PACE adopted texts, the Jo Cox Committee collected and processed indications from a variety of actors at national level. The conclusions and recommendations presented in the final report, however, may be of interest for those committed to countering hatred and intolerance also beyond the boundaries of Italy.