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Protecting EU values and rights by combating hate speech and hate crime
Deadline: Sep 18, 2024  
- 157 days

 Education and Training
 European Union


Protecting EU values and rights by combating hate speech and hate crime

All forms and manifestations of hatred are incompatible with the EU values and the fundamental rights enshrined in Article 2 of the Treaty and the Charter. Hatred affects the individual victims and the groups they belong to, generates societal polarisation and silences wide sectors of the population, weakening pluralism and undermining respectful public democratic debates. The online world has amplified the negative effects of hate speech. Hate crimes are a direct violation of the victims’ fundamental right to dignity, to equality and non-discrimination. Combating hate speech and hate crime is therefore a key part of the Commission’s action to promote EU values and to ensure that the Charter is upheld.

At EU level, the 2008 Council Framework Decision requires the criminalisation of certain forms of hate speech and hate crimes. Also, the Commission adopted a Communication in December 2021 inviting the Council of the European Union to extend the legal basis for EU-level criminalisation to other forms of hate speech and hate crime beyond the racist and xenophobic grounds already covered by the Framework Decision.

Recently, the EU is experiencing an alarming increase in hate speech and hate crime, including physical and online attacks targeting in particular the Jewish and Muslim communities in Europe. The Joint Communication on “No Place for Hate” confirms a strong commitment to step up EU efforts to fight hatred in all its forms, by reinforcing action across a variety of policies.

As recognised by the Communication, civil society organisations play a crucial role in combating hate speech and hate crime, thereby safeguarding and promoting fundamental rights. Projects under this priority should aim to enable civil society organisations to establish mechanisms of cooperation with public authorities in particular to support the reporting and recording of episodes of hate crime and hate speech; to ensure support to victims of hate speech and hate crime; and to support law enforcement, including through training or data collection methodologies and tools. Projects should also focus on activities to tackle hate speech online, including reporting content to IT companies, designing countering narrative and awareness raising campaigns, and educational activities to address the societal challenges of hate speech online.

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