Anti-hate speech in Western Balkan
During the pandemic there was an evident rise of hate speech across the region of Western Balkans and it becomes evident that the public awareness for the recognition of various forms of discrimination and the possibility of its prevention and protection is low, especially in light to a health crisis like we have not faced before. According to its own monitoring analysis and regional mapping, the Helsinki Committee registered doubling of hate-speech since the emergence of the pandemic – especially hate speech against disadvantages groups. This calls for the need of awareness raising and campaigning, during the crises and in the after-crises period. On the basis of Helsinki Committee’s vigorous monitoring of fundamental rights vs. the spread of the pandemic in the country and the consequent mitigation measures, we were able to produce original data that would fundamentally benefit the public on enabling sense of tolerance among citizens. Finally, from this action decision-makers will also be presented a set of specific policy options, including communication with the public.
According to our mapping in the region, the level of engagement of CSOs in monitoring and analysis of hate speech is insufficient, therefore the level of obtained data is low. However, during the inception of this project, the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights was able to identify key partners in three other Western Balkans countries which are willing to engage and participate in the implementation of the project. Therefore, the following cooperation was established: YUCOM – Lawyer’s Committee for Human Rights (https://en.yucom.org.rs/) – Serbia Albanian Helsinki Committee (https://ahc.org.al/) – Albania Youth Initiative for Human Rights (https://yihr.org/) – Kosovo. These organizations were strategically selected to enable for a wide coverage and representation of the region in order to enable for quality assessment of hate speech and exchange of best practices/policy options.