The Council of Europe’s No Hate Speech Movement campaign has announced an Action Day to mark International Refugee Day on 20 June. The Action Day aims to raise awareness of the damaging effect of hate speech targeting refugees, to mobilise campaign activists and partners in standing up against this hate speach, and to support national campaign committees and partners to develop human rights based narratives in response to hate speech targeting refugees, as well as to raise awareness of the ECRI Recommendation nr 15 on Hate Speech and its function to address hate speech in the Council of Europe member states.
“The sudden influx of large numbers of refugees, termed the “refugee crisis”, has ignited heated debates on its impact on European communities. This has given rise to a furor of racist, xenophobic and aggressive nationalist statements that echo the darkest times of European history. Hate Speech is present all the way through; under cover of freedom of expression and the “courage to speak the truth”, we have witnessed a race to the bottom of human dignity. The right to seek asylum from persecution is a universal human right which cannot be sacrificed on opportunist political gains.” the No Hate Speech Movement community manager wrote in a blog post about the Action Day. “Reinforcing hateful statements and hate speech targeting Refugees not only blocks the possibilities to engage in dialogue but also clouds us from seeing other factors that contribute to the challenges but also solutions for the problems in Europe.”
Campaign activists are called upon to participate in a “Connect by the Heart” action, whereby activists join hands with strangers to create a heart shape, which can be shared via the campaign’s online platform. Additionally, activists are called upon to provide blog posts and other online content about the so-called “refugee crisis” and associated hate-speech, as well as to create memes and other content that can be used to counter the populist narrative on migration and refugees.
UNITED supports the Action Day, and we are working with the No Hate Speech Movement activists to connect this campaign to our #LifeSeekers campaign, which will also be launched around 20 June.