hate speech – AEGEE-Europe | European Students' Forum AEGEE (Association des Etats Généraux des Etudiants de l’Europe / European Students’ Forum) is a student organisation that promotes cooperation, communication and integration amongst young people in Europe. As a non-governmental, politically independent, and non-profit organisation AEGEE is open to students and young people from all faculties and disciplines – today it counts 13 000 members, active in close to 200 university cities in 40 European countries, making it the biggest interdisciplinary student association in Europe. Wed, 15 Nov 2017 17:59:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.5.11 AEGEE opposes the “Kill the Gays’ bill” in Uganda /kill-gay-bill-uganda-europe/ Mon, 17 Dec 2012 10:44:55 +0000 http://aegee.blogactiv.eu/?p=333 Recently Rebecca Kadaga, speaker of the Ugandan parliament, announced that the 2009’s anti-homosexuality bill will become a law in Uganda in December 2012. She spoke about passing the bill as a ‘Christmas gift’ to its advocates. While homosexual acts are already illegal in Uganda, this law would severely increase the penalties. In terms of the criminalisation of same-sex relationships, the law aimed to make a distinction between two types: ‘aggravated homosexuality’ and ‘offense of homosexuality’. ‘Aggravated homosexuality’, defined as ‘gay acts committed by parents or authority figures, HIV-positive people, paedophiles and repeat offenders’ would in the proposed law result in death penalty. ‘Same-sex acts or being gay in a relationship’, would be considered ‘offense of homosexuality’, and therefore would be punished by lifelong imprisonment. After Kadaga’s announcement, foreign donors have threatened to cut aid unless Uganda does respect equal rights for gay people. Amongst these donors there are several European countries – the United Kingdom in first place – and the United States. Due to this pressure, several amendments to the proposal were passed, resulting in the committee of Ugandan MP’s dropping the death penalty provision. However, they still endorsed the rest of this anti-homosexuality bill.

Whereas most governments have hitherto been relatively silent, civil society has spoken out with a loud voice. Hundreds of thousands of people worldwide signed petitions to stop the ‘kill the gays’ bill’ from passing. However, this is still not enough. Therefore All Out, an organisation that brings together people of  every identity – lesbian, gay, straight, transgender and all that’s between and beyond – to build a world in which everyone can live freely and be embraced for who they are, startedthe action Stop the “kill the gays’ bill”. With this action they aim for the whole world to take a stand against the bill, and therewith forcing global leaders to help stop it. They urge everybody to call their foreign affairs office, and tell their country’s official to speak out before it’s too late.

We, AEGEE, want to do the same and call upon the active citizens of Europe, the member states and the European institutions, to take a stand and stop this bill from passing.

As a reminder, when talking about LGBTQI rights, there is still a lot to fight for. Only twelve countries worldwide recognise and perform same-sex marriages and only fourteen countries worldwide recognise the right for adoption for LGBTQI-parents. The situation in Uganda is not an exception! Join the fight for justice and take a stand against the “kill the gays’ bill”, and strive for equal love worldwide!

Submitted by Eline de Graaf, Policy Officer for Social Inclusion on LGBT issues

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Hate speech out loud /hate-speech-out-loud/ Mon, 19 Nov 2012 10:51:31 +0000 http://aegee.blogactiv.eu/?p=291 Hate speech, human rights combat, young activists and initiatives, freedom of expression and anti-discrimination – these  were the most frequently used terms at the Hate Speech Fair on 29th October in Bratislava, during the pre-event to Agora Budapest titled Brighten your Horizons. The event, organised in cooperation with the Council of Europe, encouraged members of AEGEE and other young people to join the campaign Young People Combating Hate Speech Online, and inform them about the presence of hate speech crimes in Europe.

The event’s thematic concept brought fruitful results. Denisa Samková from Ternype, the association of Roma youth, as well as Juliet Christmann and Seamus Campbell, two EVS volunteers from People in Need, a human rights focused NGO, actively contributed to the programme. “It is a great inspiration for me to see your members engaged in human rights issues,” said Denisa. “Marginalised youth in Slovakia is very often a target for different extremist groups, and similar events can bring a new turn to this combat,” she added. Juliet and Seamus confirmed her words. “We are both happy that we accepted the invitation to the event. We had not only the chance to exchange our experiences in this field, but also to deepen our own knowledge on hate speech crimes.”

Hate Speech Fair opened the discussion between various multipliers of human rights in Slovakia. People in Need association expressed their concern of humanitarian and development aid, social integration and community work with marginalised youth in rural parts of Slovakia. Mr. František Pálka from AGORA – Direct democracy explained why the consolidation of democratic society is still in progress. Mr. Tomáš Foeldes from Human Rights gave many new ideas to the Human Rights Working Group for their future work, and presented a mostly educative approach to combating human rights crimes in Europe.

Networking and raising awareness about hate speech crimes in various countries was put in the centre of the Fair. The presence of our guest, Mrs. Mária Ripomská, member of the Slovak National Parliament confirmed that freedom of expression is not only a concern of young people and activist, but it is an important point on the governmental agenda as well. Moreover, as she explained, there is a space for discussion between young people and governmental bodies about the ways for creating and equal, democratic society. Her interest in our event should encourage us to organise similar actions in the future, as these are necessary to contribute creating a society with equal opportunities that we wish to live in.

The event organised by the Human Rights Working Group of AEGEE-Europe and AEGEE-Bratislava resulted not only in a successful cooperation between AEGEE bodies, but showed the importance and openness of AEGEE to external cooperation. Learning from this lesson, we can conclude that similar events are needed, and essential to prevent hate speech violations happening in any country.

 

Written by Lucia Sobeková, AEGEE-Bratislava, member of Human Rights Working Group

Photos courtesy of Aneta Caltová from AEGEE-Plzen and Dasha Onkhova from AEGEE-Moskva

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