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Srbuhi Galyan: "Criminal liability will be established for more dangerous manifestation of hate speech"

06/02/2020

Today, the presentation of the drafts of recommendations and guidelines for gathering of disaggregated data regarding discrimination, hate speech and hate crimes — developed within the scope of the Regional Project "Strengthening access to justice for victims of discrimination, hate crime and hate speech" organised jointly with the Ministry of Justice within the scope of the Partnership for Good Governance Programme being implemented by the European Union and the Council of Europe — was held with the participation of Deputy Minister of Justice Srbuhi Galyan. Representatives of interested state agencies were attending the discussion.

Deputy Minister Galyan greeted the participants of the discussion and expressed gratitude to the Council of Europe Office in Yerevan and the European Union for the meeting organised for the purpose of outlining hate speech and its boundaries and identifying the issues of establishing adequate liability, and for the ongoing support that was provided.

According to Srbuhi Galyan, the issue is a very delicate, as it is closely linked to freedom of speech and its boundaries. "Today, an unprecedented reality is being recorded in our country — we have unlimited freedom of speech, and sometimes, under the veil of the right to freedom of speech, we encounter concealed or sometimes even overt manifestations of hate speech, which is unacceptable in our state, and there has to be an adequate response to this," Srbuhi Galyan stated and informed that the Ministry of Justice has developed a relevant draft law that establishes criminal liability for more dangerous manifestation of hate speech, that is, liability for public calls to use violence against a person due to any social or personal circumstance, for publicly justifying or advocating such violence.

At the end of the discussion, the Deputy Minister voiced hope that this expert discussion will highly contribute to identification of the issues in the fight against discrimination, hate crimes and hate speech and will help to find effective solutions to the problems that exist in our country today," Srbuhi Galyan emphasised.

Head of the Council of Europe Office in Yerevan Natalia Voutova attached importance to the organising of such discussions and expressed confidence that the draft, developed with the support of interested parties, will help to record positive outcomes.

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