#NoPlace4Hate: Improving Institutional Response to Hate Speech in Lithuania
The purpose of this project is to address the negative phenomenon of hate speech in Lithuania.
Hate speech is explicitly criminalized and is considered as a specific form of hate crime. However, this legal regime does not result in effective sanctions. National authorities record only a few hate-motivated incidents per year. In 2017 and 2018 law enforcement agencies recorded 17 and 21 hate speech incidents respectively. However, independent surveys and research indicate prevalence of hate speech targeting members of vulnerable communities. There is an apparent discrepancy between official statistics and actual prevalence. This tendency could be potentially explained by three contributing factors: a) systematic failure to investigate and prosecute; b) lack of capacity and (or) unwillingness to initiate criminal proceedings; c) underreporting.
Because of the latency (i.e. underreporting) of hate speech, the main objectives of this project are:
- to establish clear guidelines on processing complaints on hate speech within criminal justice system;
- to build capacity of competent public authorities;
- to improve support to victims of hate speech;
- to increase public awareness on how to recognize and react to hate speech.
Project activities include:
- an independent ombudsmen review on investigating hate speech;
- public surveys on prevalence and recognition of hate speech;
- cooperation protocols on processing complaints on hate speech;
- an internal awareness raising campaign within law enforcement structures;
- capacity building trainings for law enforcement officers, prosecutors and judges;
- online victim support and information hub that includes network of independent service providers and comprehensive referral system;
- awareness raising campaigns to promote zero tolerance approach towards hate speech;
- National Human Rights Forum.
The project is partially funded by the Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme of the European Commission (Project Agreement No. 875127 — LGKT_HS — REC-AG-2019 / REC-RRAC-RACI-AG-2019).
Project Manager – Rūta Juodelytė, email@example.com, +370 520 50637.
For more information, please contact the Communications Coordinator Izabelė Švaraitė, firstname.lastname@example.org, +370 520 50634.
Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson of the Republic of Lithuania