Tolerance trumps hate - Brussels, Palais d’Egmont, 8 May 2015

date: 13 April 2015

Tolerance is stronger than hatred

As part of its chairmanship of the Council of Europe, Belgium is organizing a high-level conference entitled "Tolerance trumps hate". It will be held in Brussels on 8 May. The 47 Member States of the Council of Europe are invited to this event in order to affirm their position and continue their efforts to promote tolerance and fight against hate speech. Indeed, according to Belgium, living together must be rethought and tolerance must be taught and propagated through education, social relations and the media.

The recent terrorist attacks in Paris, Copenhagen and Brussels showed that extremism and radicalization could lead to terrorism. These attacks, combined with the rise of terrorism in Europe, highlight new challenges that the Council of Europe must face.

Member States are today in a dual obligation: on the one hand, they must protect the people’s life and on the other, their actions against hate speech must respect fundamental freedoms. Therefore, countries need to react and take action to fight against extremism and hate speech, without compromising fundamental rights such as freedom of expression and privacy protection.

Therefore, the objective of this conference is to invite members to take a stand and show their commitment to the fight against intolerance and hate speech. Prevention against hate speech will be central during this day. In addition, this high-level meeting also aims to promote the values of the Council of Europe (human rights, democracy and the rule of law) as tools for prevention and response against extremism and hate speech.

Moreover, the conference will be inspired by the experience and results of the "No Hate Speech Movement", a youth campaign of the Council of Europe against hate speech. To this end, representatives of youth and social network users of the Council of Europe and its Member States will hold a working meeting on 7 May, the day before the conference.

Following the 8 May event, the Belgian chairmanship hopes to adopt a common policy action and recommendations that can be part of the Council of Europe’s actions, to tackle the underlying causes of radicalization and extremism.