No Hate Speech Movement
The No Hate Speech Movement was a youth campaign led by the Council of Europe Youth Department. It seeks to mobilise young people to combat hate speech and promote human rights online. Launched in 2013, it was rolled out through national campaigns in 45 countries, running until 2017.
The National Youth Council of Ireland co-ordinated the Ho Hate Speech Movement in Ireland from 2014 – 2018 with the support of many national organisations, and a team of amazing Youth Ambassadors led by Youth Ambassador co-ordinators Fionn Scott and Aiste Slajute.
Although the campaign has formally ceased it continues as part of the Council of Europe’s and NYCI’s ongoing work around human rights and equality. This webpage offers information and resources to support individuals and groups maintain the work of tackling on-line hate speech.
As a direct result of being involved in the Movement NYCI has joined the Irish Coalition Against Hate Crime which is campaigning to have Hate Crime legislation established in Ireland.
Outside In – Transforming Hate in Youth Settings Manual
NYCI has also developed a Manual, Activities resources and training on Transforming Hate Speech in Youth Settings.
This educational tool and practice manual outlines an innovative new approach on how to transform hate in youth work settings. Focused on the youth worker, and their practice, it looks at self-awareness, taking a needs based approach, and building connections with young people though empathic listening.
What is hate speech?
Hate speech, as defined by the No Hate Speech Movement Ireland, covers all forms of expression which spread, incite, promote or attempt to justify any form of hatred, stereotyping or discrimination based on intolerance.
This includes, but is not limited to, intolerance of people based on their ethnic and cultural backgrounds (including Travellers and Roma), religious belief (including those with none), disability and health (including mental health), sexual orientation and gender identity. Hate speech also includes sexism, misogyny, aggressive nationalism, and all forms of threatening and/or abusive language based on an identifiable characteristic of a person.
Hate speech covers all forms of expression which spread, incite, promote or attempt to justify any form of hatred, stereotyping or discrimination that is based on intolerance.
Online hate speech is not the same as online bullying. Online bullying targets an individual – sometimes because of their identity group but not always. Online hate speech always targets by identity group, sometimes toward an individual by relating to their group identity but more often it targets the group, thus seeking to hurt everyone in that group. Its reach and damage is wider as it impacts everyone in that group.
The online world is a space where the values of human rights are often ignored or violated. Hate speech online has become a major form of human rights abuse, with very serious consequences for people, both online and offline. Hate speech affects all of society. Young people are directly concerned as victims, targets, active and passive agents.
What can you do about online hate speech?
To tackle online hate speech, we believe we need to create a culture of intolerance toward it, so that it becomes unacceptable and that those who are the targets of hate speech see support online rather than hate.
There are 4 methods we use to challenge online hate speech
Try not to share instances of hate speech online as it only gives it more coverage – instead screen shot it and report it. We stress that reporting works and it is easy to report hate speech. Report it to the platform where you have seen it – Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, online news reports and their comment sections etc. Also report it to any online reporting discrimination mechanisms that exist such as www.IReport.ie (for reporting racist hate speech). Report it to the Gardai if it is threatening or inciteful.
When you see something nasty on social media challenge it by commenting back, using your personal name and profile. It’s enough to say that it is offensive – you don’t need to have well thought out arguments. Encourage others to comment too. We want it to become the norm to always challenge any offensive and hurtful things said online, to make it unacceptable and to develop an on-line culture that is based on human rights. Share the Movement’s Facebook and Twitter posts that challenge hate speech and other trusted posts, especially from human rights NGOs. Ask your friends and contacts to like, follow and share the posts.
Share stories with a human rights perspective that are insightful and that challenge stereotypical and hateful content. By ensuring that different perspectives, i.e. counter-narratives, are present and shared widely in newsfeeds it puts doubt in the minds of those inclined to listen to, share and/or develop discriminatory content.
(Please note that these are external accounts and are not run or monitored by NYCI.)
Sometimes we find ourselves looking at arguments where both sides have clear rights. We don’t take sides in the No Hate Speech Movement, we promote respectful debate and the right to share opinions. Research shows that people lose arguments in the online space when they turn offensive in any way, no matter how strong their case is or how angry or upset they feel. Always disagree with respect.
Love Not Hate Campaign for Hate Crime Legislation
NB: We believe it is too difficult to legislate against online hate speech due to the difficulties of defining it. Instead we are campaigning for legislation against hate crime (which may sometimes involve an element of online hate speech). Join the campaign for Ireland to put legislation in place against Hate Crime.
Resources you can use
Watch and Share this video on tackling hate speech we made at a Sports Against Racism event
Watch and share this cool video made at No Hate Speech youth activist residential event: Keep Crossing Borders
Two of the major tools of the campaign is the use of “Bookmarks” and “We Can”.
Bookmarks is a manual to use with groups on combating hate speech online through human rights education.
We Can is a manual that presents approaches and tools for youth and other human rights activists to develop their own counter and alternative narratives to hate speech.
Do Activities to promote Human Rights. We like this one a lot.
This activity makes human rights more real. Participants must depict different rights to members of their team using anything they like – except for words! (Similar to Pictionary or charades)
Group size – 12-16
Time – 60 minutes
Objectives – To understand the rights contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)
- Copies of the Human Rights Handout: make 1 copy for each team. Cut the handout up (see below)
- Space for 2 or more teams to work separately, ideally in different rooms
- 2 facilitators (ideally)
- UDHR Summary (see below)
- Post-its or small cards
- Flip chart and markers (optional)
1. An optional starter for groups unfamiliar with human rights might be to ask the group what they understand by human rights. You can use prompt questions. For example:
- Who has human rights?
- Can you name any human rights?
- Who has to make sure that human rights are respected?
- Where do they come from?
2. Divide the group into teams of 6 – 8 people. Hand out the following to each team:
- A copy of the UDHR summary (at the end of this activity)
- Post-its or cards to write guesses on
Rules of play
Aim of the activity: guess all the human rights before the other team(s)
- 1 person from each team (the ‘Collector’) collects a human rights card from the facilitator. Their task is to convey the right written on the card to the rest of their team without speaking. They are allowed to draw pictures, use gestures or mime, but cannot use any other props to communicate the right written on the card.
- The rest of the team has a copy of the UDHR to help them and they need to guess which human right is being depicted. This should be discussed and agreed by the whole team before an ‘official’ guess is made. When they have agreed on the team’s guess, this should write it down and give it to the Collector. The Collector then says if they are right or wrong. If the team makes an ‘unofficial’ guess – in other words, they don’t write it on a card – the collector must not respond! They can encourage them and nod or shake your head if they ask questions about anything else, for example, ‘are you sweeping the floor?’, ‘are you in prison?’, ‘is that an ice cream?’, but NO SPEAKING!
- If they are wrong they can only have one more guess. After that, the right is regarded as ‘not guessed’ and the next Collector goes to fetch a new card from the facilitator.
- A different ‘Collector’ should be sent up for each new rights card. When everyone has had a turn, a second round begins.
- The game ends when one team has guessed all the rights correctly, or when one team has guessed more rights correctly than the other team.
- Not all rights are included in the game: there are 30 different rights in the UDHR, and only 12 cards to guess.
Allow participants to wind down after the heat of the competition! Use some of the following questions to debrief the activity.
- Which of the rights were most difficult to communicate? Why?
- What conclusions can you draw about communication: why is it often difficult to understand each other? Is it the fault of the ‘communicator’ or the ‘listener’, or both?
- Were any of the rights particularly difficult to understand?
- Do you think you could ‘do without’ any of these rights? If so, which ones?
- Do you think these rights should apply to the online world as well as the ‘real’ world? Can you think of examples where some of these rights are relevant to online activity?
- Do you think that human rights are respected on the Internet?
Human rights belong to everyone, and they are ‘laws for governments’. Human rights mean that governments have to make sure that individuals are protected from unfair treatment, extreme abuse and violence – amongst other things. Human rights are important because they protect us, and because they mean we shouldn’t behave towards others in a way that does not respect their rights.
Reflections on hate speech
- Explain briefly that hate speech is any ‘expression’ of hatred towards a group or member of a group which is nasty, hurtful and likely to lead to violent reactions towards members of the group. Ask for a few examples to clarify.
- Which of the rights in the game might be relevant to hate speech? Why?
- If you were a target of hate speech online, which rights would you be most likely to need?
- What can be done about the proliferation of hate speech online?
Tips for facilitators
- The game will be more effective with 2 facilitators. The facilitators will need to make sure that Collectors do not respond to ‘unofficial’ guesses (for example by shaking the head or looking encouraging).
- Participants could work in pairs to convey the rights. This may be helpful to allow them to discuss what the rights mean, but it may also add time to the activity.
- You may wish to concentrate on one or two of the areas of ‘reflection’ in order to explore issues more fully. Do not try to cover all questions!
Note: The activity could be run purely as a drawing activity, or purely as a drama activity, or both, as in the instructions above.
Make the following into a set of Human Rights cards that you can cut up and hand out
Article 1 All human beings have the same human rights
Article 14 Everyone has the right to ask for asylum in another country if they are being persecuted
Article 2 No-one should be discriminated against
Article 18 Everyone has the right to religious belief
Article 3 Everyone has the right to life
Article 19 Everyone has the right to freedom of expression (to say what they want)
Article 5 Everyone has the right to be free from torture
Article 20 Everyone has the right to join an association and to meet with others
Article 11 Everyone has the right to be considered innocent until proven guilty
Article 21 Everyone has the right to vote in elections and take part in government
Article 12 Everyone has the right to privacy
Article 27 Everyone has the right to take part in the cultural life of their community
Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)
1. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
2. Everyone has the right to be treated in the same way, irrespective of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political opinion, property, birth, or other status.
3. Everyone has the right to life and to live in freedom and safety.
4. No-one has the right to treat you as a slave nor should you make anyone your slave.
5. Everyone has the right to be free from torture and from inhuman and degrading treatment.
6. Everyone has the right to recognition by the law.
7. The law is the same for everyone; it should be applied in the same way to all.
8. Everyone has the right to an effective remedy when his/her rights have not been respected.
9. No-one has the right to detain or imprison you unjustly or expel you from your own country.
10. Everyone has the right to a fair and public trial.
11. Everyone should be considered innocent until found guilty.
12. Everyone has the right to have their privacy (including home and family life) respected.
13. Everyone has the right to live and travel freely within state borders.
14. Everyone has the right to go to another country and ask for protection if they are being persecuted or are in danger of being persecuted.
15. Everyone has the right to a nationality.
16. Everyone has the right to marry and have a family.
17. Everyone has the right to own property and possessions.
18. Everyone has the right to believe whatever they wish (including, but not confined to, religion).
19. Everyone has the right to say what they think and to give and receive information freely.
20. Everyone has the right to join associations and to meet others in a peaceful way.
21. Everyone has the right to take part in the government of their country, which should be chosen through free and fair elections.
22. Everyone has the right to social security.
23. Everyone has the right to work for a fair wage in a safe environment and to join a trade union.
24. Everyone has the right to rest and leisure.
25. Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of themselves and of their family, including food, clothing, housing, medical care and necessary social services.
26. Everyone has the right to education, including free primary education.
27. Everyone has the right to share in their community’s cultural life.
28. Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realised.
29. Everyone must respect the rights of others, the community and public property.
30. No-one has the right to take away any of the rights in this declaration.
Tackling Hate Speech as a Youth Ambassador
Youth Ambassadors are at the Heart of the No Hate Speech Movement
Youth Ambassadors are young people who communicate the no hate speech message, whether acting on the European stage or at national, regional or local level. Among the online community of Ambassadors are those who run our Facebook and Twitter feeds, and who actively counter any hate speech they see in online spaces – all on a voluntary basis. The No Hate Speech Movement would be nowhere without their dedicated and inspiring activism.
Youth Ambassadors have developed some amazing videos and written some inspiring blogs.
St Andrews Resource Centre did a Flash Mob event to fight against hate speech
Watch this video that was made to fight anti-semitism and religious intolerance
Testimony from our Youth Ambassadors
A youth exchange in Lithuania:
Myself (Emmanuel) and Happymore, were attending a youth exchange in Lithuania. The exchange gathered a group of 30 young people from 5 different EU countries. This diversity inspired us to talk a little bit about the No Hate Speech Movement. I had some No Hate Speech stickers and the Bookmarks Manual in my bag. We spoke about the history of the movement, its aims and how it is run. Then we ran one of the activities from Bookmarks on confronting cyber bullying. Because the group had developed a deep level of connection among each other during the week, we were able to hear people’s honest opinions and personal stories in regards to hate speech online. I must admit it was one of the most powerful no hate speech workshops I have ever run, Happymore and I both felt as real hate fighters when we heard the feedback from the group.
It turned out that we actually had a lot of victims of hate speech online within the group who got emotional and told us their stories. Others said they “have never thought about it that way”, and a lot of people asked how they could join or help. The best thing I heard from the workshop came from a young Lithuanian man who said he “was always on the other side of the story, has always been the guy who posts these kind of stuff and never realised what it causes to others” and he thanked us for workshop.
This kind of positive feedbacks is what Happymore and I both agree that keeps us going on with this campaign, we may not be stopping tanks from manoeuvring, replacing bombs with colour powder or dumping guns into volcanos but at least we know we are replacing hate, the generator of all that with something the produces peace, one, two or three people at a time. It has been said many times that hate will only grow as big as we let it grow, so why stand aside and watch when we all know very well that it’s about time we cut down the tree of hate, it’s about time we appreciate our difference and see each other as fellow humans. I have to say, my eyes are tired from seeing the atrocities of war, I want to give my eyes the chance to see peace and its attributes.
You can be a Youth Ambassador in lots of ways – We received this inspiring letter from students in Limerick:
We are writing to you from Laurel Hill Secondary School in Limerick, where we are 6th year students. As part of our Leaving Certificate Politics and Society Project, we have to write a submission to a relevant agency and we chose your (No Hate Speech) Movement. We wanted to convey our support and admiration for the impact and global outreach your Movement has. It indicates to us that our project is not a notion we conjured up in class, but that this is a real human rights issue people worldwide want to address. We were stunned to find out this Movement is occurring in over 45 countries.
We knew a letter or e-mail would not be substantial enough without an action behind it. The criteria for our project was to research the denial of a human right from the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and we chose to examine the difference between hate speech and freedom of speech and where this political and social line is crossed. We conducted classes with four different years groups in our own school, examining these two forms of rhetoric online, as we know the online perspective is a focus for the No Hate Speech Movement. We love using Twitter ourselves but are fully aware of the dark side of it, whether it’s harmful personal comments between people or politically driven remarks.
We searched for tweets concerning examples of violence, terrorism and religious and ethnic groups in society which have received the most scrutiny and prejudice in the last five years. Together, we compiled packs of ten tweets, with five examples of freedom of expression and five examples of hate speech. We asked the students, in groups of five, to separate the tweets into two piles of five tweets, deciding off instinct which were examples of hate speech and the latter, freedom of speech. We discussed, with use of powerpoint, the differences, definitions and global examples. Once more, we asked the students to examine their two groups of tweets and move any into a different pile if they felt they may have incorrectly placed them. We told them which category each comment fell under and had open discussions with the groups each time of why they placed a tweet in one of the two categories. This was really eye opening from our perspective as many students did not need to know the political language or words that were often used to get the correct answers. Therefore, we believe we learnt something extremely profound, that hate speech is not tied to knowing in-depth details about politics, but that it lies on a basic humanitarian level of understanding. Almost any age can detect when the wrong kinds of language are being used. Since President Trump’s presence has become consistent on Twitter, there has been further fuel to the fire. Our project doesn’t circulate around President Trump, yet it was an example that students brought up when we asked them if they have seen or personally experienced hate speech in their own lives.
We are fully aware that your movement is a Council of Europe initiative, but regardless of our UDHR criteria for the project, in the case of almost all legislation regarding hate speech, we found a strong and alarming contradiction. Article 3 of the UDHR states that you have the right to live, and to live in freedom and safety while Article 19 protects the right to think what you want, and to say what you like, and nobody should forbid you from doing so. You should be able to share your ideas – also with people from any other country. As individuals, we completely believe in the right to freedom of expression, it is intrinsic to every free and just society, yet, cyber hate and cyberbullying can exploit this right. It is our hope that in the future, particularly as young people, that there will be a separate and well thought out article or provision, for example, to be found in the European Convention on Human Rights which can level prosecution and increase safety for others regarding hate speech online.
We want to thank you for taking the time to read this email. This was really about sharing our experience of learning about hate speech; we hope that our action helped educate young people to be more careful and vigilant of what they say on social media and also on how to communicate in the wider world.
Thank you again,
Sophie Slater and Niamh Hickey, Sixth Year Politics Project, Laurel Hill Secondary School, Limerick