“Hate speech and hate crimes are a gangrene on our societies, eating away at them from the inside,” said Liliane Maury Pasquier, President of the Parliamentary Assembly, in a statement to mark the European Day for Victims of Hate Crime (22 July).
“Eight years ago today, 77 people lost their lives in a horrifying, hate-fuelled attack in Utøya and Oslo. Since then, many more people have been victims of hate crime in Europe and across the globe, unjustifiably targeted on the grounds of their real or perceived national or ethnic origin, migrant or refugee status, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.
“As the Assembly has recently emphasised in its Resolution 2275 (2019), politicians have both a political obligation and a moral responsibility to combat hate speech, which is often at the root of hate crimes. Not only must we refrain from using hate speech and stigmatising language ourselves, but we must also condemn promptly and unequivocally their use by others.
“We must never allow our silence to foster a climate of impunity for hate crimes, for they not only harm their victims but undermine one of the values at the very heart of Europe: respect for every individual’s human rights” she said.