Discrimination, hate speech, and hate crime all have destabilizing effects on societal cohesiveness and human rights. With the increasing use of various forms of communication technology in recent years, the threat posed by hate speech has grown. Words employed as weapons can be transmitted globally in a matter of seconds, fuelling prejudices and provoking physical hate crime.
To tackle this development, and provide law enforcement and legal professionals with a better understanding of the issues surrounding discrimination, hate crime, and hate speech in general, a 15-hour training seminar was held at the University of Barcelona (UB) – Spain – from 18-20 January 2016. The event took place within the framework of PRISM – Preventing, Redressing and Inhibiting hate Speech in new Media – a project funded by the Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Programme of the European Commission. The PRISM consortium, led by the Associazione Ricreativa e Culturale Italiana (ARCI), includes UNICRI and 9 other partner organizations based in 5 European countries.
The training course was organized by UNICRI, in cooperation with University of Barcelona. The course was delivered by Mr. David Martín Abánades, Official in charge of Diversity Management of the Fuenlabrada Police Force in Madrid, and Ms. Sara Giménez Giménez, Lawyer and Director of the Equality and Discrimination Department at La Fundación Secretariado Gitano.
Approximately 20 participants attended the event, representing various law enforcement and legal entities active across the region, including the Guardia Civil, Mossos d’Esquadra, Guàrdia Urbana de Barcelona, prosecutors’ offices, and multiple local police forces from around Catalonia.
The topics covered included key concepts such as direct and indirect discrimination, social diversity, hate crime, and hate speech online; the management of social diversity and the fight against racism in Spain; an overview of national and international legislation aimed at addressing hate crime; the role of social media with respect to online hate speech; victim assistance; guidelines for investigating and prosecuting hate crime; and an array of other issues. Dr. Olga Jubany, Director of UB’s European Social Research Unit devoted a specialized session to the work and objectives of the PRISM Project.
UNICRI, in conjunction with project partners, will be organizing three further training events in Bucharest, Paris, and London during the coming months.
For more information on PRISM, past and upcoming training seminars, and research materials related to the project, please visit: http://unicri.it/special_topics/hate_crimes/