The Right to Not Be Exposed to Hate Speech Must Be Taken Seriously

On 30 August Civil Rights Defenders wrote an Op-Ed about the right-wing extremist Nazi-party, Svenskarnas Parti, demonstration in Stockholm that occurred the same day. The Op-Ed was published in the Swedish newspaper, Svenska Dagbladet where Civil Rights Defenders Executive Director, Robert Hårdh, and Legal Director, John Stauffer, stressed that the right of people to not be exposed to hate speech must be taken seriously.

Summery of the Op-Ed:

It is essential that the Police take responsibility to eliminate all racist expression such as deploying the Swastika. If Sweden continues to allow racist activity manifest itself then society must provide substantial and real protection against racist expression.

The demonstration clearly shows that racist activity is increasing in Swedish society. Svenskarnas partis anti-democratic rhetoric has outraged a sizeable amount of people who do not accept the nationalistic message they are attempting to spread.

The UN has expressed serious concerns regarding developments in Sweden as the offensive rhetoric threatening ethnic minorities is increasing in our society, in the media, on the Internet and amongst politicians.

Not only must freedom of speech be protected, but also the rights of a person to not be subjected to hate speech. If we continue to let racist organisations work amongst us, there must be protection against racist expression. The government must take the UN criticism seriously; the police must be fully educated in this matter and priority given to combating all types of hate crimes in society. It is a question about democracy and human rights.

Read the Swedish article here.