Marking anti-racism day 2014
21 March is the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination – a good time to reflect on how we are countering discrimination, including hate speech and hate crime.
All European countries are committed to countering discrimination, including hate speech and hate crime. Yet all too many tragic attacks in recent years highlight growing intolerance against minorities.
Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway are taking a strong stance against discrimination - using the EEA and Norway Grants as a tool both to raise awareness of the issue and its risks for democracy, as well as promote tolerance and multicultural awareness.
The theme for this year’s day is "The Role of Leaders in Combating Racism and Racial Discrimination". Challenging intolerance and promoting democracy, fundamental rights and equality are values that sit squarely at the heart of the EEA and Norway Grants.
The Grants support a range of initiatives to tackle hate speech online and offline in the various funding sectors, mainly through civil society and the NGO programmes.
With over €150 million for the period 2009-2014, the EEA Grants NGO programmes are one of the biggest funding schemes for civil society in Central Europe.
NGO programmes have been set up in all beneficiary countries and actively address hate speech as well as tackle extremism, racism and xenophobia, homophobia and anti-Semitism.
NO HATE SPEECH movement
As an increasing part of public discourse happens on the internet, these values also have to be promoted online.
The Grants are also a strategic partner of the Council of Europe’s Europe-wide NO HATE SPEECH movement – a campaign devised by young people to raise awareness of the issue of online hate speech.
The goals of the campaign are to:
- reduce the levels of acceptance of online hate speech
- raise awareness of hate speech online and the risks it poses for democracy and young people
- involve young people in learning, living and acting for human rights, online and offline
- promote media and Internet literacy
- mobilise a network of online youth activists to defend human rights
- support and show solidarity to people and groups targeted by hate speech online
- advocate the development of and consensus on European policy instruments combating hate speech
- develop online youth participation and citizenship, including in Internet governance processes
The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed annually on 21 March. On that day, in 1960, police opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration in Sharpeville, South Africa, against the apartheid "pass laws".