EU Commission to criminalize gender-based hate speech

EU Commission to criminalize gender-based hate speech

The EU Commission will propose extending the list of ‘EU crimes’ to allow EU to criminalize gender-based hate speech and hate crime, the Commission’s vice president in charge of foreign affairs, Josep Borrell, announced in a statement marking the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25 November.

“We will also propose new legislation to prevent and combat violence against women and domestic violence. It will propose concrete measures to prevent such violence, including when perpetrated online, to protect and support victims, improve their access to justice, and to ensure better coordination between competent authorities.”

The Commission said it will present an initiative inviting the European Council to take a decision to include hate crime and hate speech in the list of ‘EU crimes’ set out in Art. 83 TFEU. The Commission said this would allow it to propose legislation addressing also those specific forms of violence against women that can be defined as misogynous hate speech or hate crime.

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“Gender-based cyber violence is spreading fast. A relatively new phenomenon is experienced by all women, though women visible in public life, such as journalists and politicians, experience gender-based cyber violence disproportionately often, which can affect democratic decision-making: they do not dare express political opinions due to fear of online targeting.”

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Borrell said that over the year, there has been worrisome developments threatening women and girls worldwide.

“In March, the Turkish government decided to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention, generating a resolute reaction from women in and outside Turkey who poured on to the streets in protest.”

“Since June, the unfolding events in Afghanistan are threatening the rights of Afghan women and girls, many of whom remain at risk due to their work, studies, activities and their opinions.”

“In Ethiopia, the atrocities of sexual violence and related impunity in the Tigray region continue, without end in sight.”

“In Europe, one woman in three aged 15 or above reported having experienced some form of physical and/or sexual violence. One in 10 women reported having been victim to some form of sexual violence, and one in 20 had been raped. Just over one in five women have suffered physical and/or sexual violence from either a current or previous partner, whilst 43% of women have experienced some form of psychologically abusive and/or controlling behaviour when in a relationship.”

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