European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association

Ending the destructive effect of hate speech – 21 March 2016

Hate speech is a pervasive phenomenon that can undermine an individual’s dignity and self-esteem. Particular groups in European society are especially vulnerable, including the LGBTI community.

On International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, ILGA-Europe want to draw attention to the latest General Policy Recommendation released by ECRI. Its wide-ranging text highlights who is affected by hate speech, how best to combat and prevent it and what can be done to assist victims in the aftermath of an incident.

In this document, ECRI uses an inclusive definition; “sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation and other personal characteristics or status” are all included, among other grounds of hate speech. The document also reminds us that bias-motivated speech can originate from a variety of sources; it stresses that opinion shapers such as politicians, community figures and religious leaders have a serious role to play in combatting hate speech.

ILGA-Europe welcome this timely policy recommendation and urge all member states of the Council of Europe to make enacting its provisions an absolute priority.