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EU justice commissioner urges Holocaust denial laws

[JURIST] EU Freedom, Security and Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini [official website; BBC profile] urged the 27 EU nations on Friday to adopt EU-wide laws criminalizing denial of the Holocaust [JURIST news archive] and incitement of hatred and racial violence. Frattini's remarks come the day before Holocaust Memorial Day [official UK website], which marks the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. Frattini said that proposed minimum prison sentences for individuals who deny the Holocaust or incite racial violence or hatred would not contravene the European Convention of Human Rights [text]. Germany has already announced its intent to pursue the proposal [JURIST report], which has previously been blocked due to freedom of expression concerns, as part of its platform [PDF test in German] for the 2007 EU presidency [official website]. Several EU countries have taken steps to criminalize Holocaust denial at the national level - the Italian cabinet approved a draft bill [JURIST report] to that effect Thursday, and it is currently illegal to deny the Holocaust in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany and Spain. AP has more.

Also Friday, the UN General Assembly approved a resolution [press release] condemning denial of the Holocaust. The Washington Post has more. The UN News Service has additional coverage.

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