A new report submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Commission on Monday called on the EU and other member states to ban racist political parties and crack down on neo-Nazism, especially in eastern Germany.
The rise of Germany's far-right NPD party has caused concern
In a 17-page report submitted to the 53-member commission currently in session in Geneva this week, Doudou Diene, a special investigator and former Senegalese diplomat, said that UN member states need to "to fight more effectively, and to prosecute, organisations which promote ideas based on the notion of racial superiority or hatred and organisations which commit or incite acts of violence," news agency Reuters reported. "Parties that make no secret of their racist, xenophobic or neo-Nazi leanings should be banned," he said.
The report on racism, xenophobia and discrimination placed a special focus on extreme right parties in eastern Germany, saying that it was "particularly worrying" that rightwing extremist parties such as the National Democratic Party (NPD) increased public support in recent state elections through racist slogans.
Also highlighting racist violence in Russia and elsewhere, the report called on the 25 "to take account of its ethnic, cultural and religious pluralism."
German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, visiting the commission Tuesday did not directly address the issue but said that "human rights violations in particular countries must be called so by name."
Harry's Nazi gaffe sparks uproar
A copy of tabloid 'The Sun', whose front page shows a picture of Britain's Prince Harry wearing a Nazi soldier's uniform to a fancy dress party.
The push to highlight racism follows increased attempts by EU member states to push for an EU-wide ban on neo-Nazi symbols after Prince Harry of England caused an uproar when appearing at a costume party in a Nazi uniform.
The initiative was squashed by Britain and Italy because of concerns that such a ban would limit the basic right of freedom of expression. But EU ministers did agree last month to reanimate a sleeping debate on regulating racism and xenophobia. In this case, Great Britain and Italy dropped up their blockade-like reaction. Among other things, the agreement would make it punishable by law to deny the Holocaust or other crimes against humanity.
Meanwhile, the German upper house of parliament passed legislation last week in another attempt to crack down on far right parties: the initiative seeks to curb neo-Nazi marches amid concerns the extreme-right will target celebrations to mark the end of the war in Europe.
Among some 6,000 sympathizers of the National Party of Germany (NPD) attended a neo-Nazi meeting in the eastern German city of Leipzig in 1998.
The far right, led by the NPD, is planning to march past the new Holocaust memorial in Berlin and to the Brandenburg Gate on May 8, the 60th anniversary of Germany's capitulation. Last month, 4,000 right-wing extremists rallied in Dresden on the 60th anniversary of the Allied bombing that devastated the city.