“Protection against discrimination and violence is essential to the protection of human rights.” Michael Häupl, Mayor of Vienna

Vienna, Austria, February 2017  – The city of Vienna (Austria) will host the European seminar “Preventing and countering discriminatory violence at the local level” on 2-3 March, as part of the European Just and Safer Cities for All project. On this occasion, the Mayor and Governor of the Austrian capital, Dr Michael Häupl, wrote a word of welcome to the seminar participants and, beyond, to all Efus members.

Dr Michael HäuplVienna is a city of human rights. We want to protect human rights in the long term, identify the needs for improvement, and make of Vienna an international reference in this respect. These efforts include notably our commitment against intolerance, discrimination and hate crime against people based on traits such as language, religion, ethnic origin, gender, worldview, disability or sexual orientation. Protection from discrimination and violence is a central feature of human rights protection.

It is in this context that the city of Vienna supports the seminar “Preventing and countering discriminatory violence at the local level”, which is part of the project “Just and Safer Cities for All”. The seminar brings together representatives from local authorities, European institutions, civil society organisations and other  experts from across Europe to discuss local approaches and strategies to counter intolerance and hate and to review best practices fostering social cohesion. As cities, we are particularly well positioned to prevent and raise awareness in cooperation with other stakeholders and thus contribute to an open minded, tolerant and respectful social climate that proscribes discrimination, intolerance and violence.

Vienna is an active member of the European Forum for Urban Security (Efus), since 2005. In collaboration with 250 cities from 16 European countries, Vienna contributes to many activities of Efus. The common work is based on a balanced vision of urban security, combining prevention, repression, and social cohesion, which emphasises  the protection of human and citizen rights. Efus’ principle is “cities helping cities”. We are faced with similar challenges not only concerning the topic of discriminatory violence, but also other key urban security issues such as the prevention of radicalisation or organised crime. We have a lot to learn from each other through exchange and cooperation at European level.

I welcome the participants to the seminar in Vienna and wish them and Efus  members all the best for their important work.

Dr Michael Häupl
Mayor and Governor of Vienna