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'Let’s join forces against hate crime', says General Rapporteur

“In a world which faces increasing hate and violence, we need to stay strong and true to our values,” said Milena Santerini (Italy, SOC), General Rapporteur on combating racism and intolerance, speaking on the eve of the European Day for the Victims of Hate Crime (22 July).

“That is also why we should commemorate the victims of hate crime. On 22 July 2011, in Utøya and Oslo, 77 people were killed in the name of hate. Many preceded them and many followed, in Europe and beyond,” she added.

“Hate crime is the ultimate and most severe manifestation of the hatred and intolerance permeating our society, often expressing itself in the form of hate speech, on-line and elsewhere. It is the duty of public authorities to ensure that up-to-date legislation tackles the incitement and propagation of hate, which paves the way to violent crime. Attention should also be paid to the victims, who need justice, protection and assistance.”

“Protection of victims and of the population at large should be at the heart of our action against all manifestations of hate. This requires an effort by everybody: citizens and civil society, internet big players and public authorities. With everyone’s contribution, we can curb hate crime: the antidote to hate is solidarity,” she concluded.

In 2013, activists and supporters of the Council of Europe’s "No Hate Speech" movement initiated a petition to the Parliamentary Assembly to establish a European Day for Victims of Hate Crime on 22 July. The initiative received the support of the Assembly through its Recommendation 2052 (2014) on "Counteraction to manifestations of neo-Nazism and right-wing extremism". The No Hate Parliamentary Alliance actively supports this initiative.