FRA took part in a hearing of the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) on 30 March on means of better safeguarding the rule of law and fundamental rights in the EU.
On 30 March, FRA, together with the Latvian Presidency of the Council of the EU, will host the second meeting of the Working Party on combating hate crime, with the participation of representatives from 24 EU Member States. Members of the European Commission, the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, and the Council of Europe’s Commission against Racism and Intolerance will also take part.
The most effective way to counter hate speech is to reinforce the values of democracy and human rights that it threatens, the heads of three intergovernmental human rights institutions said today in a joint statement on the eve of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
On 3-4 March in Brussels, 85 representatives of civil society, governments, law enforcement, national prosecution offices and international organisations from 19 European countries convened in Brussels for the two-day European Conference on a victim-centred approach to tackling hate crimes.
Outgoing FRA Director Morten Kjaerum spoke to the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE). He began by talking about the Agency’s achievements since its establishment in 2007, focusing particularly on FRA’s large-scale surveys and its legal Opinions on EU legislation
In a drive to work more closely together on pressing fundamental rights challenges, the Council of Europe, the European Network of Equality Bodies, the European Network of National Human Rights Institutions and FRA have established four thematic cooperation platforms in 2014.
The two murders that took place in Copenhagen on 14-15 February, one at an event on freedom of speech and the second at the city’s central synagogue, violate not only the right to life but also a number of other fundamental rights, including the right to human dignity (Article 1 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU), freedom of thought, conscience and religion (Article 10), and freedom of expression and information (Article 11).
The attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices on 7 January 2015 that left 12 people dead framed the initial debate on the necessity of protecting the right to freedom of expression. However, the subsequent murder of four Jewish people in a kosher supermarket and the deadly shooting of a police officer in Paris, as well as the suspected attack on police in Belgium added other dimensions to political, media and civilian responses across the EU.
International Holocaust Remembrance Day, on 27 January, is a chance to honour the memory of the victims of the Holocaust and to remind us of the persistent problem of antisemitism. This year FRA will join senior politicians, diplomats, global figures and experts from around the world to discuss how to deal more effectively with antisemitism, racism and xenophobia in Europe as they mark 70 years to the day on which the concentration camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated.