Parliamentary Hearing at the United Nations
United Nations Headquarters, New York, 22-23 February 2018
by Mr. Valeriu-Andrei STERIU
Member of Romanian IPU Group
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is an honour for me to speak before you on behalf of the Romanian delegation.
Migration will definitely continue to be an important topic on both the global and the national agendas. Its economic, social, political and humanitarian impact requires all our dedication and efforts.
Romania’s approach to migration is based on fundamental principles and values: respect for human rights and the rule of law, international solidarity, shared responsibility, enhanced international cooperation.
When addressing stereotypes, racism and xenophobia, there are several aspects, mutually reinforcing, which must be taken into consideration in a comprehensive manner:
- collection and dissemination of accurate data on migrants;
- raising awareness about the potential positive contributions of migrants to their hosting communities;
- focus on education at all levels, as - maybe - the most effective way to combat discrimination;
- legislative action to prevent and counter the xenophobic rethoric (let me mention, in this context, that the Romanian legislation incriminates the hate speech);
- the proper training of law enforcement authorities and legal professionals; and
- the development of effective tools to counter anti-immigration messages in the social media.
And I would like to ask the panelists whether, in their opinion, the Zero Draft reflects sufficiently the role that social media can have in the proliferation of discriminatory rethoric and hate speech.
Before concluding, I want to stress that, if taken in isolation, such targeted actions against discrimination will never be effective.
Xenophobic and anti-immigration attitudes find a fertile ground in the social discontent caused by the lack of solutions to improve the lives of citizens.
Fighting poverty and enhancing the well-being of all people, with a particular focus on vulnerable groups, are prerequisites in building tolerant, cohesive societies.