Volunteers and lawyers to jointly combat online and offline hate speech against Roma in Slovakia

A project to tackle online hate speech against Roma in Slovakia was launched on 7th June by the Forum for Human Rights (FORUM) and the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC). The project is part of a European Union-funded initiative by the ERRC and its partners to directly challenge and litigate online hate speech in Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania. It will engage Roma and non-Roma volunteers to report online hate and, with the assistance of lawyers, to bring legal complaints. The initiative will run until 2024 and aims to bring direct legal challenges against those who allow hate speech to flourish against Roma online.

“Reporting hate speech is extremely important to provide a remedy to victims and show the perpetrators and media platforms that hate content is not welcome. We hope to empower Roma victims of hate speech and support their trust in the rule of law,” said Alexandra Dubová, project manager and lawyer from Forum for Human Rights.

The online meeting was held on 7th June 2022 to launch and present the project initiative aiming to challenge digital antigypsyism. The meeting was attended by non-governmental organizations working with Roma communities and experts in challenging online hate speech. Representatives of the state institutions, including the Slovak National Centre for Human Rights, Office of the Public Defender of Rights and Office of the Government Plenipotentiary for Roma Communities, also participated in the opening of the initiative and expressed their support for the project.

The project aims to combat online and offline hate speech on a European level, and in the next 24 months, with the support of the European Commission Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values Programme (CERV-2021-EQUAL), will work toward increasing rights awareness among Roma communities about online hate speech and incitement to discrimination, as well as empowering hate speech victims to bring complaints to justice institutions about violations of their fundamental human rights.

The project is funded by the European Commission Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values Programme (CERV- 2021-EQUAL).