23 June, 2015

European Action Day for Victims of Hate Crime

Category: Europe, European Action Day, Victims of hate crime
Community Manager
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The activists and supporters of the Council of Europe’s No Hate Speech Movement initiated a petition towards the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in 2013 to establish a European Day for Victims of Hate Crime on 22 July, the day of the attacks on Oslo and Utøya in Norway. The purpose is to establish a European Day on 22 July as a means to give recognition to the problem of hate crime in Europe, to give voice to the victims and targets, to express solidarity and re-affirm commitment to monitor, to enforce the law and to educate and raise awareness so that such crimes are condemned and prevented. The initiative has received the support of the Support Group of the Victims of 22 July, the Norwegian Parliament and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

Purpose of the European Day of Victims of Hate Crime

International human rights days have the purpose of bringing and keeping important human rights issues to the attention of the general public. They also give recognition to contribution, to suffering, to special situation of individuals and groups in our society and prompt us to act in order to create a society based on human rights. When addressing the groups that suffer from sustained violations of human rights, these days aim:

  • to help bring justice to the victims
  • to create the space for victims and targets of human rights violations to share their experience;
  • to ensure education to prevent such events from happening again (including combatting the causes and the consequences of such human rights violations);
  • to express solidarity and common standing.

An official institutionally and internationally led remembrance provides endorsed recognition to the suffering of the victims, gives a basis for justice measures such as compensation and trial of perpetrators, serves as a confirmation that such actions are officially condemned and shows the commitment of states to prevent them from happening again and to address the underlying causes and consequences. Victims of hate crime do not constitute an identity group as such, but they have their human rights violated particularly because of their (perceived) identity. 22 July is in this sense a tragic symbol for the experience of many in today’s Europe. The attacks were motivated by extreme right ideology and racial hatred, the perpetrator confessing to view all the victims as traitors for supporting immigration and multiculturalism. It claimed the lives of 77 people in one day, including 66 young people from Utøya youth camp.

General aims of the European Day of Victims of Hate Crime

  • to remember and recognise the suffering of all hate crime victims, in Norway and elsewhere;
  • to give voice to the victims and targets of hate crime at local and national level and express solidarity with them;
  • to raise public awareness as to the existence of hate crime, to its causes (racism, discrimination and intolerance; along with other connected phenomena such as hate speech)
  • to raise awareness as to our obligations to ensure a society where everyone’s human dignity is respected, where human rights can be equally exercised and where everyone can fully achieve their human potential;
  • to educate the public as to the causes and consequences of hate crime and hate speech, particularly in respect to their role as citizens.

What is hate crime and challenges

As you read this post now someone falls victim to hate crime in Europe. In most cases this crime will go unreported and not investigated. If it is reported, in many cases it will not be investigated as potential hate crime, if it is investigated it is more likely there will not be a conviction as hate crime, if there is no conviction and the dimensions of the problem will not be clear, there will be no measures to prevent hate crime. Hate crimes are criminal acts motivated by bias or prejudice towards particular groups of people. Violence and crime known as hate crime are motivated by racism, xenophobia, religious intolerance, a person or group disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, political views or any other forms of intolerance based on any forms of discrimination of hatred. Incidents may involve physical assault, damage to property, bullying, harassment and murder.

Forms of expression that are motivated by, demonstrate or encourage hostility towards a group — or a person because of their perceived membership of that group — are commonly referred to as “hate speech”. Since hate speech may encourage or accompany hate crime, the two are interlinked.

The main reasons for not reporting hate crime by the victims were lack of confidence in police and other state authorities to investigate properly the crimes. In case of less violent incidents, many of the targets consider them to be part of ‘daily life’, showing how deeply embedded racism and discrimination are still in our societies. Hate crime impacts human rights at three levels: individual, ‘group’ and society. At individual level, hate crime discriminates individuals and strips them of their dignity. At group level, hate crimes have the potential to reverberate among followers of the perpetrator, spark discrimination and spread fear and intimidation. At society level, hate crime jeopardises everyone’s human rights.

Objectives of the European Action Day for Victimsof Hate Crime in 2015

  1. On the occasion of Utoya and Oslo on 22 July 2011 to commemorate the victims of hate crime in Europe;

  2. To involve European organisations and national campaign committees to join the commemoration and its actions;

  3. To raise awareness on the links between hate speech and hate crime; the size of the two phenomena in Europe today and to propose ways in which youth work and youth and other organisations can contribute to prevention;

  4. to gain political support for the recognition of the European Day for Victims of Hate Crime.

Partners of the Action Day in 2015

Recommended actions for 2015


The No Hate Speech Movement is looking for stories of people who have been victims of hate crime. The aim is to show that behind the statistics there are people with life stories, dreams, aspirations, challenges and through them to raise public awareness on the size of the problem. The stories can be shared directly by the victims or through organisations working with victims of hate crime. The collected stories will be shared online on the No Hate Speech Movement platform at its social media.


The purpose of this call is to invite politicians on all levels and all directions to make a public statement on the 22nd July to express solidarity with victims of hate crime and to call for political action to prevent, seek for justice and take proper policy measures on all related fields. And we also ask politicians to support the actions recommended by the No Hate Speech Movement.

CALL FOR LOCAL OFFLINE ACTIONS (click on the title for details)

The No Hate Speech Movement provides the following guidelines as recommendations for organising local or national offline actions in support of the European Action Day for Victims of Hate Crime on the 22nd July 2015.


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