European Regional Forum on Hate Speech, Social Media and Minorities: outcomes


The European Regional Forum on Hate Speech, Social Media and Minorities was held on 21-22 September, 2020 and organised by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on minority issues Dr. Fernand de Varennes.

The Forum aims to examine issues related to the spread of hate speech through the media, Internet and violence against linguistic, national and ethnic minorities. During the Forum, participants discussed the role of social networks in disseminating hate speech and its harmful impact, set the objective to identify legal, institutional and political challenges caused by the spread of hate speech against linguistic, national and ethnic minorities on the Internet, as well as to discuss possible response measures taken by States, social platforms and civil society.

In the framework of the thematic sessions thereof, Head of Department for International Development of Association of Lawyers of Russia Cha Mi Vu presented certain recommendations to the international community, mentioning legal regulation of combating hate speech, including in social networks, as well as the role of civil society organisations in educational activities. That includes explaining to school-age children about negative consequences of hate speech based on discrimination. In addition, Cha Mi Vu shared the experience of the Association of Lawyers of Russia on monitoring cases of hate speech on the online platforms of the ALRF.

«We stress the importance of adopting the European Union Code of Conduct on Countering Illegal Hate Speech Online. However, at the moment, there is no universal international binding document regulating relations on the Internet. Different countries have different laws and rules of conflict of laws. Not all the States have a regulation of mechanisms for combating hate speech, as well as discriminatory comments against national, language and other minorities on the Internet,» the representative of the ALRF concluded.