16 May, 2016

Respect Human Rights of Refugees

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Category: Asylum seekers, Educational activity, European Action Day, Refugees
Community Manager
12 pm

An Action Day condemning Hate Speech targeting Refugees.dmeu_r705b_1_std.lang.all

An estimated 3.5 million people have sought refuge in Europe until the end of 2014. In 2015 the numbers of new refugees arriving in Europe has increased dramatically due to the ongoing conflicts in the neighboring regions and within Europe. For example 1.26 million people claimed asylum in the EU member states (source: Eurosatat), the largest part have fled to Europe from war-torn regions in the middle east and Afghanistan. Turkey alone shelters 1,9 million refugees and asylum-seekers (source: UNHCR) fleeing the war in neighboring Syria and beyond. The migration of refugees continues in 2016 with significant human costs. For example UNHCR has recorded 184.162 arrivals to Europe by sea between January and April 2016, and already 1.261 persons that have died or gone missing in the attempt. In 2015 the number of recorded deaths at sea was 3.770, although exact numbers are difficult to determine.

The sudden influx of large numbers of refugees, termed the “refugee crisis”, has ignited heated debates on its impact on European communities. This has given rise to a furor of racist, xenophobic and aggressive nationalist statements that echo the darkest times of European history. Hate Speech is present all the way through; under cover of freedom of expression and the “courage to speak the truth”, we have witnessed a race to the bottom of human dignity. The right to seek asylum from persecution is a universal human right which cannot be sacrificed on opportunist political gains.

That refugees should not be the target of hate speech it only adds to their personal tragedies. Hate speech also prevents seeking effective and consensual measures to help and support them in the host societies. Hate speech may be targeting refugees, but the ultimate aim and ultimate victims are all of us and universal human rights.

Reinforcing hateful statements and hate speech targeting Refugees not only blocks the possibilities to engage in dialogue but also clouds us from seeing other factors that contribute to the challenges but also solutions for the problems in Europe.

The Action Day calls for a wide and systematic reaction and condemnation of Hate Speech targeting Refugees. It also stands in solidarity with refugees, asylum-seekers and all those working to make the right to asylum a reality. Debating how to best support and integrate refugees and respond to concerns of host communities following the refugee crisis has to be done without hate speech and with respect of the dignity and human rights of refugees and asylum seekers .

The objectives of the Action Day will be:

  • To raise awareness of the damaging effect of hate speech targeting refugees.
  • To mobilize campaign activists and partners in standing up, reacting and countering hate speech targeting refugees.
  • To support national campaign committees and partners to develop human rights based narratives in response to hate speech targeting Refugees and engage constructively in the public debate on the refugee crisis in Europe.
  • To raise awareness of the ECRI Recommendation nr 15 on Hate Speech and its function to address hate speech in the Council of Europe member states.


Solidarity  Action: Connect by the Heart – on 20 June we ask online followers to connect with an unknown person and together form a heart shape with their hands. It is an expression of willingness to meet a stranger and together stand against Hate Speech targeting Refugees, who are strangers in need and for human rights and dignity.  For online action, users can upload a selfie with a half heart sign made with their fingers on the platform and link their half heart figure with selfies of others unknown users already uploaded on the NoHate Chain of the Movement.

Counter narrative content: The action day aims to act against hate speech by to correct miss-conceptions and stereotypes regarding the impact of the refugee crisis and refugees in general. The activists of the Movement are preparing counter narrative content that can be shared and published in social media. Step-by-step guide for countering hate speech against refugees. An Infographic about Top Hosting Countries of Refugees, and an Infographic about Protection Status of Refugees in Europe can be used for raising awareness about the facts. There are 16 images and memes in this Flickr Album created by activists for the Action Day.

Blog posts and video messages. Articles and personal stories (written or video) will be published for the Action Day. The activists are collecting essays, interviews and personal stories from refugees, experts and public figures that help us understand the complexity of the so called refugee crisis and also helps the development of a respectful public discourse around the issue.

Educational resource for teachers and youth workers. One of the key features of human rights education is building competences of critical thinking on the human rights of vulnerable groups, building values of compassion and solidarity. Human Rights Education also builds the competences to express difference of opinions free from hate speech, which are essential skills for a successful dialogue to happen. For this action day activists have prepared recommended educational activities and exercises that address the topic of Refugees and support development the competences of young people.

Recommended offline events. Social events where members of the community (new and old) can share drinks, food, cultural expressions etc. are often an icebreaker to get to know each other and for more long-term dialogue process to start.  The success lays in the informal atmosphere and safety of the space that is created with representatives of all communities taking part. A social activity will help attract visitors, think of a local popular game, fair that might take place or other.  Activists have prepared a collection of ideas that are recommended as offline actions that may help to raise awareness and educate people around issues in relation to refugees. It also includes a collection of recommended films around the issue of refugees and asylum seekers.

In the course of June you are invited to mark/flag online hate speech targeting refugees, immigrants and asylum seekers on the Hate Speech Watch. Hate speech towards refugees is a strategic focus of Hate Speech Watch that aims to map and monitor hate content of the Internet towards migrants, asylum seekers, IDPs and immigrants. The Movement aims to promote constructive discourse for human rights and human empathy when engaging with this sensitive topic. We now invite You to contribute to the Hate Speech Watch by helping us map and monitor hate speech targeting refugees.


1 Comment

  1. Epitets

    They have rights, we have rights. We don`t want them to see in our country. That`s or rights. Don`t offend them! 🙂


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