June 14, 2024

European Justice Ministers Seek Joint Action against Hate Speech

Justice Ministers from France, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and Italy, as well as EU Justice Commissioner, Didier Reynders, condemned the rise in crimes and hate speech targeting minorities, according to a statement.

The incidents had occurred on social media in particular during the COVID-19 pandemic, said the statement.

The group also expressed concern about doubts raised by Hungary and Poland on the Istanbul Convention on the Protection of Women.

In Paris, the justice ministers also emphasised the importance of press freedom and the rule of law after last week’s attempted assassination of Dutch crime reporter Peter R. de Vries.

They expressed their support for de Vries following the murder attempt that has been widely attributed to organised crime in the Netherlands.

In response to current alarming trends of growing xenophobia, racism and intolerance, violent misogyny, anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim hatred around the world, on 18 June, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres launched the United Nations Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech. The strategy recognises that over the past 75 years, hate speech has been a precursor to atrocity crimes, including genocide, from Rwanda to Bosnia to Cambodia. As noted by the Secretary-General at the launch:

Hate speech is in itself an attack on tolerance, inclusion, diversity and the very essence of our human rights norms and principles. More broadly, it undermines social cohesion, erodes shared values, and can lay the foundation for violence, setting back the cause of peace, stability, sustainable development and the fulfillment of human rights for all.

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