Today, the 22nd of July, is the European Day for Victims of Hate Crime. The International LGBTQI Youth and Student Organisation (IGLYO) would therefore like to take this opportunity to recognise and highlight the continued and pervasive nature of hate speech and hate crimes perpetrated against LGBTQI+ young people and other marginalized groups throughout Europe.
While figures do not exist to accurately portray the everyday occurrence of hate speech and hate crimes against LGBTQI+ people, our community, knows from lived experience that it is not isolated, it is not insignificant and it is not being tackled effectively.
The little data we do possess paints a stark image. Transgender Europe’s Trans Murder Monitoring Project has documented 117 reported killings of trans and gender diverse people in Europe alone between 1st of January 2008 and the 30th of April 2016.
While, a 2012 survey conducted by the Fundamental Rights Agency involving over 93,000 LGBT from across Europe showed that more than 1 in 4 LGBTI people had either experienced physical/sexual violence or threats within the 5 years prior to the survey.
There currently remains no data on the nature, extent or pervasiveness of hate speech and crime against intersex people.
These are just the tips of a problem that runs deep.
Far too often when a hate crime is committed, it is the perpetrator who is at the foremost of people’s recollection and debate rather than the names of the victims.
Far too often when a crime is committed against a member of a marginalised group, whether they are part of the LGBTQI+ community, a religious or ethnic minority, or any other group or inhabit the intersections of many, public cries of condemnation towards the perpetrator are often matched with equally vociferous agreement with their actions.
Far too often victims go nameless or have their dignity violated. This is especially the case in countries were to be LGBTQI+ is to suffer widespread public condemnation or scapegoating. Many of these countries are also likely to have experienced a rise in radical right wing movements that target and justify attacks and targeting of LGBTQI+ people, migrants and religious and ethnic minorities among others.
We must not forget that the 22nd of July was chosen as the date for the European Day for Victims of Hate Crime as it was on this day in 2011 that the Oslo attacks and Utøya massacre claimed a total of 77 lives in Norway. These attacks were motivated by racist hatred and an extreme right ideology that saw the wonderful diversity of European culture and citizenship as something abhorrent and strove to shatter the harmony and unity of communities the perpetrator did not agree with.
Today, 5 years on IGLYO seeks to remember those who died in Norway, as well as those LGBTQI people and their allies killed in Orlando on the 12th of June last as well as all those who have suffered or continue to suffer as a result of hate speech and hate crime in Europe. We also wish to emphasise that it is the responsibility of all Member States of the Council of Europe to investigate and unmask the motivation behind hate crimes under Article 14 of the European Convention of Human Rights.
The purpose of 22 July as European Action Day of Victims of Hate Crime is to:
- remember and recognise the suffering of all hate crime victims, in Norway , Orlando and elsewhere;
- give voice to the victims and targets of hate crime at local and national level and express solidarity with them;
- 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)
- raise awareness of intersectionality and how important it is to recognise the multiple forms and intersections of oppression that people may face if we are the effectively combat hate speech and hate crimes
- 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.
IGLYO would also like to take this opportunity to highlight the incredible work our partners are doing as part of the No Hate Speech Movement. The No Hate Speech Movement is a youth campaign of the Council of Europe for human rights online, to reduce the level of acceptance of hate speech and to develop online youth participation and citizenship, including in internet governance processes. You can take part in a DAY OF ACTION organised by the No Hate Speech Movement to commemorate today: here
IGLYO would also like to draw your attention to our publication IGLYO on Online Hate Speech available here.