FRA Director speaks to EU Justice and Home Affairs ministers

With the internet awash with online hatred, there is an urgent need to take a comprehensive, rights-based approach to stem the tide, urged FRA’s Director during discussions with EU Justice ministers. The working lunch debate focused on the code of conduct on countering illegal hate speech online signed one year ago by the European Commission and IT companies.

He recognised that the EU’s code of conduct on online hate speech provided a basis for tackling online hatred that affects all of society. He warned this assault on human dignity risks fuelling wider intolerance, spilling over into public discourse, the media and political rhetoric offline.

He suggested developing a comprehensive, rights-based approach to tackling online hate speech that would cover six areas: understanding; monitoring; reporting/recording; prosecuting; supporting victims; and education.

The FRA Director also spoke at a joint policy debate on the protection of children in migration. The debate follows the publication of the European Commission Communication on the protection of children in migration of April 2017.

He underlined that all children, includes asylum seeking and migrant children, irrespective of their immigration status and without discrimination, should have full access to the rights stemming from the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

He offered the Agency’s support in helping Member States better protect children on the move. Here he focused on a number of areas, such as strengthening national guardianship systems, tracing missing children, avoiding immigration detention of children and respecting children when taking fingerprints.

EU Justice ministers met on 8 June in Luxembourg as part of the EU’s Justice and Home Affairs Council.