Words: Ciarán Howley
While legislation is being drafted, a new petition is calling on the government to do more.
#StandByMe is a new campaign from the Coalition Against Hate Crimes petitioning for increased action on the government to tackle rising crimes and speech in Ireland.
In an open letter, the C.A.C.H acknowledged Minister for Justice Helen McEntee’s proposed hate crime legislation, which if passed will make identifying offenders and securing convictions easier.
However, the group feels work on targeting crimes against minority groups needs to begin outside of the courtroom.
“We are calling for a National Action Plan to tackle hate crime and hate speech and for a commitment to wider actions to ensure that the upcoming legislation is only one part of a multi- faceted and comprehensive response to tackle these issues. We must ensure that everyone in Ireland feels safe to be who they are.”
Hate acts encompass violence, aggression, intimidation or speech targeted against minority groups and have been on the rise in Ireland this year. There were increased calls for increased transport security after a young man was homophobically assaulted on a Dublin bus earlier in the summer.
“One act can make an entire community feel excluded and unsafe. We must go beyond criminalisation if we truly want to transform society.”
Earlier this August a report published by the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism detailed a considerable network of alt and far right groups pedaling hate speech in Ireland. It is yet to be seen if the proposed legislation would put pressure on social media platforms to moderate and ban these networks operating online.
At the time of writing, Ireland remains one of the few countries in the world without hate crime legislation.
If you want to learn more about #StandByMe and the petition click here.
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