On July 22nd, 2011, 77 people were killed in a brutal attack at a youth camp in Utøya and Oslo, Norway. On the same day, 180 youth from across Europe were gathered for AYUDH’s 8th Annual European Youth Summit in Brombachtal, Germany. This summit was a place to learn how to become active participants in a peaceful multicultural society. When we heard about the incident in Utøya, we were shocked. Our camp came to a standstill. In addition to deep sorrow for what had happened in Norway, we realized: It could have been Germany, it could have been us. We are Utøya.
Ever since this day, AYUDH has actively supported the No Hate Speech Movement of the Council of Europe. Hate speech, as defined by the Council of Europe, covers all forms of expression which spread, incite, promote or justify racial hatred, xenophobia, anti-Semitism or other forms of hatred based on intolerance. Focusing narrowly on our differences often leads to hatred, violence and exclusion. Focusing broadly on our shared humanity can foster solidarity, compassion and peace. AYUDH is committed to exploring these issues through its partnership with the No Hate Speech Movement in Europe and its work towards advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG #16, dedicated to the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies, access to justice for all and building effective, accountable institutions.
On July 22nd, 2016, AYUDH Europe will host ‘One Humanity’, a high-level symposium to raise public awareness about the origins and effects of hate crimes and hate speech at Kloster Eberbach in Germany. Bringing together leading voices in the fields of politics, diplomacy, activism, education and countering violent extremism with 400 young participants, this gathering aims to shift attention from personal and cultural identities to our fundamental human identity, and our shared need to be respected, understood and loved for who we are. The efforts of political leaders and institutions to establish and ensure peace on national and global levels must coincide with local efforts to nurture a culture of peace in younger generations around the world. The Symposium will also play host to the official launch of the No Hate Speech Movement digital campaign and website in Germany by Mme. Anne Brasseur, Official No Hate Speech Ambassador of the Council of Europe.
To advance these efforts, AYUDH calls on all its members to support the petition to establish a European Day for Victims of Hate Crime, to remember the victims of hate speech and hate crimes and launch initiatives—like the One Humanity Symposium—focused on creating intercultural understanding and social cohesion. The No Hate Speech Movement is looking to collect 10,000 signatures that will be presented to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe later this year. The petition is nearly at 5000 signatures, and with your help, we can take it all the way. Make your voice heard for our shared humanity: sign the petition today.