The German Federal Minister for Justice and Consumer Protection, Heiko Maas, today paid an official visit to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg and held talks with its Secretary General, Thorbjørn Jagland.
The items discussed included combating online hate speech and incitement to hatred, and the fight against discrimination and racism.
Heiko Maas: “Discrimination against minorities and racism are Europe-wide social problems which demand a joint international response. The Council of Europe’s institutions do a valuable job in constantly reminding all members of Europe’s common values. Germany strongly appreciates and supports this process.”
The federal government also stands by the Council of Europe in combating online hate speech and incitement to hatred. “We want jointly to ensure that resolute action is taken against online hate speech. Incitement to violence and hate speech must not go unanswered.”
Secretary General Jagland welcomed the measures taken by the German government to combat online hate speech: “The agreement which Minister Maas has reached with major Internet firms is exemplary. We will step up our co-operation in this area.”
During the visit, Minister Maas joined Ambassador Küntzle, the Permanent Representative of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Council of Europe, in signing the Council of Europe Convention on Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism. “The federal government welcomes the fact that the rules on combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism will in future be further harmonised in Council of Europe member states. The detection of criminal funding mechanisms is a key aspect of the fight against terrorism and organised crime. International co-operation in this area is extremely important. Germany clearly recognises and fully appreciates the Council of Europe’s role in international co-ordination.”
In addition to Secretary General Jagland, Minister Maas met the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muižnieks, and members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. At the close of his visit to the Council of Europe, Minister Maas visited the European Court of Human Rights.