The member of the Armenian Delegation to PACE Vladimir Vardan yan delivered a speech within the framework of the report The Political Leaders’ Role and Responsibility To Combat Hate Speech and Intolerance, noting:
“Honourable Madame President, Dear Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen,
The verbal expression of human hatred – hate speech - is the very root cause of a huge range of crimes, based on intolerance, discrimination, xenophobia and racism. Its very existence poses a great danger for the cohesion of a democratic society, protection of human rights and the rule of law.
Hate speech is extremely dangerous, when serving as a precursor for planning and perpetration of genocide and crimes against humanity. It tends to humiliate, stigmatize, degrade, demonize, and, consequently leads to dehumanization of certain targeted human groups, creating fertile grounds for committing those mass outrages. It is not by chance that in all the genocide cases “hate speech” was used as a catalyst for facilitating their perpetration. Labeling every single Armenian as alien and traitor in the course of the Genocide perpetrated in the Ottoman Empire, publishing virulently anti-Semitic newspapers during Holocaust, the radio broadcastings in the course of the Rwandan Genocide constituted a central pillar of the genocide propaganda machine. Today, when we are commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, it is worth to note that the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda has recognized the nexus between hate speech and inciting of genocide in numerous judgments. Nevertheless, it is very alarming that even after a centennial of the Armenian Genocide, after the 70th anniversary of the Nuremberg Trials we are still facing cases of Armenophobia, anti-Semitism and other xenophobia in Europe.
It may seem unbelievable, but even today there are several leaders, politicians and public figures within the Member States, who in their daily agenda continue to spread hatred through the use of offensive wording and discriminating labels, aiming to divide their societies into “we” and “the others,” separate unwanted groups of humans from the right ones. Unfortunately, the hate speech is widely and shamelessly used in politics as an electoral tool for the creation of fake enemy image and gaining the protest vote.
The dangerous volume of hate speech becomes even more alarming in the digital era, when social media may lead to unprecedented consequences.
Hence, it becomes urgent for all human rights-oriented societies, for the sake of a better tomorrow, join forces against this decease, which brings out the worst in people.
I call upon all the Member States of the Council of Europe and their respective parliaments to form a united front to condemn and to prevent all manifestation of hate speech, by implementing all possible means necessary and proportional in the democratic society to make Europe the “Hate Speech Free” Area.
And for that, let us start from this respected Assembly and be an example for the others.
Thank You for your attention.”