Updates from Europe

  • Nohate speech event 2014
  • Nohate speech event 2014

Human Rights Day 10th December - Ideas on what you can do

Human Rights Day is celebrated each year on 10 December on the occasion of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1948.

For 2016 the UN has adopted the slogan ‘Stand up for Someone’s Rights today!’. It argues that: ‘Many of us are fearful about the way the world is heading. Disrespect for basic human rights continues to be wide-spread in all parts of the globe. Extremist movements subject people to horrific violence. Messages of intolerance and hatred prey on our fears. Humane values are under attack. We must reaffirm our common humanity.’

Education and public debate are regarded as two fundamental pillars for Human Rights and Democracy to thrive, but only if conducted within a human rights framework, as articles 29 and 30 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights explains

  • Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible. In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society. (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 29)
  • Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein. (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 30)

It is important to remember that learning about our human rights and how to apply them in our daily life is a lifelong project as societies develop and communities change. The internet has accelerated this process by giving more information about the world around us and its people than ever before. These new online tools allow us to come together and express our thoughts easier and quicker.

But the internet provides also a new platform for hate speech to spread. Hate speech fuelled by intolerance, hatred and fear, threatens different Human Rights, including the right to free expression, of those that it targets. Hate Speech promote intolerance and discrimination, undermining human values, and does not provide a constructive contribution to the public debate. As the campaign in Germany points out: ‘Hass ist keine Meinung’ (Hate is not an opinion).

The Action Day invites us to challenge normalisation of hate speech  that exploits cultural, historical arguments or through inappropriate humor. It is  clearly that hate speech is not a human right, it violates other Human Rights and undermines human dignity and therefore . There is no neutral position when it comes to hate speech, people also take a stand by ignoring it. One can either support hate speech (including by remaining silent) or argue against it. The Action Day will focus on promoting Human Rights online, w, however offline (educational) activities will also be recommended on the topic of Human  Rights online.

The Action Day will aim to empower people to counter hate speech by providing a better understanding of Human Rights, including online, and of the impact of hate speech on Human Rights of all of us. As the Council of Europe Charter for Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education explains:

  • An essential element of all education for democratic citizenship and human rights education is the promotion of social cohesion and intercultural dialogue and the valuing of diversity and equality, including gender equality; to this end, it is essential to develop knowledge, personal and social skills and understanding that reduce conflict, increase appreciation and understanding of the differences between faith and ethnic groups, build mutual respect for human dignity and shared values, encourage dialogue and promote non-violence in the resolution of problems and disputes.
  • One of the fundamental goals of all education for democratic citizenship and human rights education is not just equipping learners with knowledge, understanding and skills, but also empowering them with the readiness to take action in society in the defence and promotion of human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

The 10 December Action Day therefore supports the call to ‘Stand up for everybody’s Human  Rights, to raise awareness and educate for Human Rights online. The Council of Europe as the main European institution protecting and promoting Human Rights in Europe has developed instruments to safeguard the human rights and freedoms in its 47 member states. The promotion and defence of Human Rights are central to the Council of Europe’s work, notably through the European Convention on Human Rights (and the European Court on Human Rights) and the work of the Human Rights Commissioner.  All the work of the Council of Europe in the field of human rights is of direct relevance for the No Hate Speech Movement campaign and can also be promoted on 10 December.

Based on the above context the Action Day will aim to increase the understanding of the importance to stand for Human Rights online and the impact of hate speech on Human Rights for all of us through Human Rights Education and by mobilize youth to denounce hate speech and express solidarity.

The Action Day objectives include:

  • to denounce and highlight hate speech as violations and abuse of human rights, by singling out and explaining how hate speech undermines universal human rights,
  • to mobilize young people to stand up for Human Rights of individuals and groups targeted by online hate speech, to replace ignorance with reaction and solidarity,
  • to raise awareness about the importance of Human Rights online, and explain what it means for the Internet users, using the Council of Europe Guide for Internet Users
  • to promote Human Rights education tools that can empower young people how to prevent, counter and argue against hate speech when they are targeted or when they witness it,
  • to produce and share counter narratives for different hate speech patterns, giving arguments against hate speech and devaluing hate speech patterns in general,
  • to give visibility and celebrate people that speak up for Human Rights of others, counter hate speech online and offline, in the past and today though the initiative of UNITED for Intercultural Action,

Recommended Actions

  1. Promote Human Rights and solidarity building on the UN slogan ‘Stand up for Someone’s Rights Today! Write on your social media ‘I stand up for ‘fill in name of person or group’ Rights Today!. You can also write the slogan on a card and spread a selfie or group picture.
  2. Stand for freedom of expression free from hate Speech by disseminating the slogan ‘Hate is not an opinion’. The slogan is translated in different languages for use in your community, find them here. If your language is not available send us the translation by email to nohatespeech.movement@gmail.com
  3. Organise an offline activity or an educational activity from the manual Bookmarks to raise awareness and learn about Human Rights online.
  4. Share some of our counter narrative content elements (Blog posts, Human Rights Cards, Memes, Quiz on Human Rights, Videos, Guide for Internet Users) or if you want to produce something for the Action Day see the call for content.
  5. Upload your photo to the No Hate Chain to Stand for Human Rights online!
  6. Take a photo with a No Hate sign (sticker, postcard, balloon, T-shirt etc) in front of an institutions, political parties, websites etc. that work against hate speech and who promote human rights or a place where you wish hate speech would not be tolerated, and share it on social media.


The 15 winning photographs of the NHSM’s International Photo Competition raise awareness about Islamophobia and Religious Intolerance. See the photos at www.nohatespeechmovement.org/photo-competition


Facebook improves its reporting process to include easier ways to report Hate Speech

Facebook has announced that its policy is to remove hate speech, which includes content that directly attacks people based on their:

  • Race,
  • Ethnicity,
  • National origin,
  • Religious affiliation,
  • Sexual orientation,
  • Sex, gender, or gender identity,
  • or Serious disabilities or diseases.

Organisations and people dedicated to promoting hatred against these protected groups are not allowed a presence on Facebook. As with all of the standards, Facebook rely on the community to report this content. You can learn more at https://www.facebook.com/communitystandards.

This news is definitely encouraging and motivating! Congratulations to all campaigners and activists!


Thougths on fighting racism from an activist in the UK

In my country, the United Kingdom, there will soon be national parliamentary elections. Recently, the leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) stated that, should his party come into power, then they would abolish the legislation prohibiting racial discrimination because “there is no more racism in our country”!

After laughing for a few minutes, I suddenly realised how wonderful it would be if that were true – no more racism….. racial discrimination has existed for hundreds, thousands of years – is it somehow part of human nature?

I do not believe so – it is normal that we sometimes find it less comfortable to be with people who are not the same as we are, but anyone who has made the effort to live in a multi-cultural environment soon realises that the riches of diversity quickly outweigh the initial discomfort of not being “at home”. Perhaps we can, with the efforts of our campaign and those of former campaigns – “all different, all equal” for example, slowly bring this richness into everyone’s life.


Hate fighters performance from Serbia

Discover here a great compilation of the choreography performed within the Hate Fighters programme in Serbia and Macedonia. The Hate Fighters programme is implemented by Kom 018, Nis and Sppmd, Kavadarci and supported by the European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe.


New banners available on the website

You can now upload the new versions of the No Hate Speech Banners : http://nohate.ext.coe.int/Campaign-Tools-and-Materials/Banners

A discussion on words

Tolerance is the practice of deliberately allowing or permitting a thing of which one disapproves. Perhaps on the other side of the coin, respect is a much more positive word -  because it denotes a positive feeling of esteem or deference for a person or other entity (such as a nation or a religion).

The No Hate Speech Movement has focused often on the question of tolerance – but perhaps we should also focus on the issue of respect – we should value each other’s differences and diversity and the huge importance this diversity has for the future of humankind - and respect everyone.  Hate speech is insidious and subversive – it belittles people – often people who the perpetrator doesn’t even know, simply because they have a different colour of skin, a different nationality, a different sexual orientation or a different religion. 



On the internet, insults and harassment between users are prevalent and become common place. The Respect Zone label is a new, positive tool to counter cyberbullying.

Adopting the Respect Zone label sends a signal that your online space is a zone of respect.

Respect zone labelThe Internet is a big place - there is room for all of us to use it and to benefit from the many wonderful assets is has to offer us – but use it with respect.  The No Hate Speech Movement welcomes the new initiative of the Respect Zone Label – an immediate indicator that you in your on line space, or a website in its entirety has taken pro-active measures to ensure that it is safe and free from hate and bullying.

Adopting the Respect Zone label sends a signal that your online space is a zone of respect.

Read more : http://www.respectzone.org/en/



Day 15 is one of the strategic projects of Cluj-Napoca 2015 European Youth Capital, Romania. Each month, around the 15th day of the month, they aim to activate a certain space in the city and the community around a given theme. Last February, they chose the No Hate Speech theme. More than 15.000 origami lotus flowers were created by 45 schools and organisations, in order to cover 3 walls in Cluj-Napoca with artistic installations to communicate the No Hate Speech Movement. More than 2 000 people were involed in creating the origami and over 750 hours were spent in order to give life to the project.

It is worth mentioning that one school was so inspired but what we were doing, that they decided to create their own origami walls in the school, besides supporting the Day 15 project.

All the schools involved received No Hate Speech materials - sent by the Council of Europe.



For Safer Internet Day 2015 Spain produced a video film


Safer Internet Day logo

Podcast looking at the recent anti-Semitic attacks in France and Denmark and asks what role the No hate Speech movement is playing in the fightback against bigotry.

Maurice Sosnowski, President of the Coordinating Committee of Jewish Organisations in Belgium, discusses the anxiety felt by Jewish communities. And Bridget O’Loughlin, the No Hate Campaign coordinator, outlines the strategy piloting the movement’s future activities. You can listen to it here.



1. How did you get in touch with the NHSM?

I was volunteering and working part time for Plan Finland, which coordinates the movement in Finland. Bullying, racism and discrimination have been my concerns for a long time and when I learned about the movement I wanted to take action.

2. What has been your favorite part of being an activist?

Discussing with people and meeting new people who also want to combat hate speech. Having a way to impact the kind of society we live in is very important to me. Being able to also raise awareness about the effects of hate speech on victims is one of the reasons I'm participating the movement. In Finland we have a great community with creative ideas and open-mindedness so I feel lucky to have the opportunity to be part of it.

3. Do you have any advice for your fellow activists?

Find your own way to have impact. It can be by art, music, sport, discussion etc. Whatever suits you best. Small actions have big impacts, be bold and creative. We have power when we act together.

4. If you have plans for the future – which one would you like to share?

I'm hosting acting workshops in community centres to engage teenagers to recognise hate speech and to take action. I hope that when in the future I graduate I can have a job that is somehow related to human rights, especially child rights and women's rights.


Lina Toumi’s blog on the NHSM platform is particularly pertinent – to quote her first and last sentences:

“I think one of the causes of hate speech lies in the fact that people do not speak to each other.”
“I think getting out of your comfort zone and confronting your views with the person who have prejudice against is a difficult but necessary step to reach peace.”



250 participants representing 47 countries took part in the biggest campaign event of the year - the No Hate Speech Movement Forum, from 2-5 October in Gabala, Azerbaijan!

During those three days, the national campaign co-ordinators, activists and other campaign supporters gathered to discuss several topics related to human rights online and hate speech.


The first part of the Forum consisted in presenting the state of play of the campaign and to share the achievements in each national campaign committee. A round table on hate speech and discrimination also took place, as well as different workshops on the theme of sharing and learning from the experiences of the other participants, and on the theme of planning the future of the movement. Representatives of 40 countries also had the opportunity to present their campaigns, through an exhibition of their national materials.

The forum participants agreed on a Message to the Council of Europe that summarises the expectations and demands on the organisation and the member states regarding the campaign and its follow-up. The Message will be shared with everyone in the next Flash News.

In her message to the participants, Snežana Samardžić-Marković, Director General for Democracy of the Council of Europe acknowledged their “commitment and action for human rights everywhere” as an important signal that the combat for human rights and democracy for all is not over: “Democratic security needs to be rooted in a culture of human rights, and this has to include cyberspace too.”

We would like to thank the Azerbaijani Ministries of Foreign Affairs and of Youth and Sport for their support to the forum and NAYORA for their tireless efforts to organize a memorable activity. Thank you also to all participants for having contributed to this great event!

All the pictures and videos can be seen on http://nohateforum.az/#, as well as the No Hate Speech Movement Azerbaijan Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/#!/NoHateSpeechMovementAzerbaijan?fref=ts. You can also have a look at this article on the Forum, writtenby Marko Begovic from Montenegro.