The Commonwealth Secretariat and the Council of Europe worked together to run a five-day course on November 27 to December 1, 2017 to help youth workers, young activists, policy officers, teachers, lawyers and government officials effectively develop strategies to combat hate speech
The Commonwealth Secretariat and the Council of Europe worked together to run a five-day course on November 27 to December 1, 2017 to help youth workers, young activists, policy officers, teachers, lawyers and government officials effectively develop strategies to combat hate speech.
Marlborough House, the Commonwealth’s headquarters, hosted 37 participants under age 30 from 22 Commonwealth countries with the aim of empowering young leaders to counter hate speech and strengthen support for human rights.
Participants received training in project management, campaigning and using human rights treaties and agreements, as well as participating in discussions that challenged personal stereotypes and prejudices.
As part of the Commonwealth agenda to promote peace and inclusivity, delegates were invited to write letters to refugees, create hate speech awareness-raising campaigns and refine laws on freedom of speech.
Facilitators aimed to provide young people with a greater level of self-awareness and a better understanding of hate speech, as well as to promote peace in the place of division between tribes, political parties and other community groups.
The course supported the No Hate Speech Movement, a youth campaign run by the Council of Europe that promotes human rights and youth participation online, including internet governance processes.
Launched in 2012, it is currently running in 44 countries.
Menno Ettema, Coordinator for the No Hate Speech Movement, said: “This training was about mobilising young people to take action on hate speech by promoting human rights.
“They learned how to analyse hate speech –what’s the oppressive and discriminating narrative behind the words that it tries to justify? – then to promote and develop a response – what is our story, what’s our message of inclusion and human rights and how do we communicate this to (other) young people so get them on board?”
Mark Albon, Head of the Commonwealth Unit to Counter Violent Extremism, said: “We are waging a war against violent extremism and we must give young people the tools they need to combat oppressive narratives, xenophobia and hate speech.
“These are young people who work at the very grassroots- they are helping their communities to change, create or implement laws, transform attitudes and craft new narratives.
“They are also challenging those who have committed themselves to sowing seeds of hatred, particularly in the minds of the young.”
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