The European Union and the Council of Europe launch a new campaign aimed at fighting hate speech in the Western Balkans
15 December 2020 – Hate speech is on the rise across Europe, jeopardising social cohesion and putting human rights under threat. The Western Balkans region is not immune to hate speech that particularly targets individuals from vulnerable groups, who have already been affected by stigma and discrimination during the COVID-19 pandemic. To counter this phenomenon in the region, the European Union and the Council of Europe are launching today a new campaign for the Western Balkans – “Block the hatred. Share the love.”
Considering the epidemiological situation, the campaign will take place entirely online, through dedicated Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages: “Block the hatred. Share the love.” and will be ongoing in the years to come. Civil activists, journalists, students and all those who think that love can fight hate, are invited to be part of this campaign by following and sharing the posts, by using their messages to respond to various forms of hate affecting their private and community life or that of family members, friends or any other individuals.
“Not only institutions, but also people, each and every individual, should be ready to respond to hate speech. Today, I joined the campaign to say ‘BLOCK THE HATRED, SHARE THE LOVE’ and I’m inviting you to do the same. Join us and keep following the campaign in the years to come”, said the Head of the EU Delegation to the Council of Europe, Meglena Kuneva.
The Director of the Office of Council of Europe Directorate General of Programmes, Verena Taylor, added: “Our anti-discrimination body, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance, has produced clear guidelines for states, and for civil society, on how to address hate speech. One visible and strong instrument is the No Hate Speech campaign, launched in the framework of the Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Turkey. We invite all to join the Europe-wide movement against hate speech, to take a stand for diversity and equality”.
The No-Hate Speech Ambassadors, prominent public figures from the Western Balkans who came forward to respond to the call of the movement against hate speech, will actively take part in the campaign.
The videos and other materials can be found on the campaign’s social media channels and on the website of the Horizontal Facility programme.
The campaign is implemented under the action on “Promotion of diversity and equality in the Western Balkans”, that is a part of the joint European Union/Council of Europe programme “Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Turkey 2019-2022”, implemented by the Anti-Discrimination Department of the Council of Europe.
Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Turkey 2019-2022
The Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Turkey 2019-2022 (Horizontal Facility II) is a co-operation initiative of the European Union and Council of Europe with the Western Balkans region and Turkey. The programme supports tailored reform processes agreed with the authorities, in line with relevant Council of Europe monitoring and advisory bodies’ recommendations, in the fields of human rights, rule of law and democracy.
The programme enables the beneficiaries to meet their reform agendas and to comply with the European standards, including where relevant within the framework of the EU enlargement process. Tailor-made and demand-driven support is provided to further improve legal and policy frameworks and build institutional capacities, reinforcing the functioning of institutions. The programme aims at bringing substantial improvements directly to the lives of citizens through its actions.