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PACE backs plan for a Europe-wide day for victims of hate crime

PACE has given its strong backing to a proposal put forward by youth activists to declare 22 July – the anniversary of the terrorist attack in Oslo and at Utøya – as a “European Day for Victims of Hate Crime”.

The Assembly was debating a report by Marietta de Pourbaix-Lundin (Sweden, EPP/CD) on how to counteract manifestations of neo-Nazism, with the participation of the Speaker of the Norwegian Parliament Olemic Thommessen.

"Hate affronts and attacks our equality of esteem and human dignity, values that are fundamental to all member states of the Council of Europe," said Mr Thommessen. "We need to slow down hate, not help it on its way."

In its resolution, the Assembly called on politicians to “take up the debate with neo-Nazis and expose them publicly by clearly and unequivocally challenging, rejecting and condemning neo-Nazi ideology and rhetoric”.

“Neo-nazis should not be ignored, but they should not be turned into martyrs either,” the Assembly said. It listed examples of good practice from around Europe, including action to prevent young people becoming drawn into neo-Nazi groups or to help them leave, strong laws against hate speech and hate crimes, and steps to encourage a strong “democratic consensus” against neo-Nazi parties both inside and outside parliament.