The European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation (ECTR) is a non-governmental organisation that focuses on monitoring tolerance in Europe and preparing practical recommendations to improve interethnic relations and intercultural communication.
The ECTR consists of prominent political and public leaders, scientists, Nobel Prize laureates and individuals who have gained global recognition for their outstanding achievements in the humanitarian sphere and promotion of tolerance.
The ECTR's first meeting was held in Paris on October 7, 2008. Former President of Poland Aleksander Kwaśniewski consented to chair the Council. Viatcheslav Moshe Kantor, President of the European Jewish Congress, was named co-chair of the Council.
The key task of the Council is to prepare initiatives capable of drastically influencing tolerance promotion in Europe and fighting all forms of racial, ethnic, religious and cultural discrimination.
In early November 2008, as part of the Week of Tolerance in Europe, the ECTR presented a European Convention on Tolerance and a concept for a White Paper on Tolerance to leading European integration institutions, first of all the European Parliament and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Both of these innovative conventions have great significance for promoting tolerance in Europe.
The European Convention on Tolerance in Europe is a complex of universal legislative steps to support tolerance and counteract all hate crimes.
The White Paper on Tolerance is to become a regular, systematic collection of tolerance practices and solutions for specific intercultural conflicts in European countries. The White Paper will be the first collection of its kind focusing on the transfer of positive practical experience.
In October 2010 in Madrid the ECTR conferred the First European medal of tolerance on the King of Spain Kuan Carlos I for his lifelong dedication and devotion to the issue of tolerance and political reconciliation. The second and the third European Medals of Tolerance have been conferred on President of Croatia Ivo Josipovic and Ex-President of Serbia Boris Tadic in Brussels, in recognition of the Balkan statesmen’s “significant contribution to promoting, seeking, safeguarding or maintaining Tolerance and Reconciliation on the European continent”.
The ECTR was one of the initiators and organisers of the international conference “Towards Reconciliation. Experiences, Techniques and Opportunities for Europe” held on October 24-25, 2010, in Dubrovnik, Croatia. The gathering brought together current and former heads of European nations to collect European experience in reconciliation, and offer them to the Balkan nations.
The ECTR held a Round Table Meeting in Moscow on October 25, 2011. Russian and international experts discussed issues of paramount importance connected with the current status, aspects and promotion of tolerance in Europe and in Russia. The experts also touched on such topics as the boundaries of tolerance, nuclear tolerance and secure tolerance in order to prevent a clash of civilisations. The ECTR’s initiative to establish a Centre for Tolerance and Security at a leading European university was also discussed at this meeting.
In October 2012 ECTR Co-Chairmen Alexander Kwasniewski and Viatcheslav Kantor have officially presented to public the Model National Statute for the Promotion of Tolerance. This document has been passed to the President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz. The Model National Statute has been unanimously adopted – under the sponsorship of the ECTR – by a group of experts consisting of five scholars from different countries and from diverse backgrounds: Prof. Yoram Dinstein (Professor Emeritus of International Law and Human Rights, Tel Aviv University, Israel) (Chair); Dr. Ugo Genesio (retired Judge, Italian Supreme Court); Prof. Rein Mullerson (Rector, University Nord, Talinn, Estonia); Prof. Daniel Thürer (Professor Emeritus of International and European Law, University of Zurich, Switzerland); and Prof. Rȕdiger Wolfrum (Director, Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public law and International Law, Heidelberg, Germany). The Statute is designed for adoption by the respective national legislatures of European States. Its purpose is to fill a vacuum: although all European States are committed to the principle of tolerance, nowhere is this principle defined in binding legal terms. The principal challenge in preparing the Model Statute was to go beyond rhetoric and generalities, spelling out concrete and enforceable obligations that ensure tolerance and stamp out intolerance. The ECTR has presented this document in a series of meetings and seminars with international organizations, including the Council of Europe and the OSCE. As a result there is currently a joint ECTR-European Council task force which is working on its implementation.