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Antigypyism is a specific type of racism directed at Roma which flares up hate speech narratives towards Roma communities. These two important topics were discussed in Belgrade with 40 representatives of the Community Action Groups from partner cities and municipalities in Serbia.

The participants were introduced to the concept of antigypyism and the impact of the phenomenon on the human dignity and self-perception of individuals and groups. A series of descriptive examples were broadcast throughout the sessions to raise awareness of the hidden messages which reinforce stereotypical images about the Roma community.

Hate speech and derogative narratives towards specific individuals or groups were explained through illustrative examples of recent incidents on social media and traditional media channels in Serbia. The participants were also given a set of tools on how to build counter and alternative narratives against the present hate speech trends towards the Roma community. Furthermore, participants had an opportunity to show their creativity and work together on a step-by-step approach in building alternative messages to the hate speech narratives that they were presented with during the previous sessions.

The Council of Europe has extensively worked on these topics. In addition to the ECRI Policy Recommendation No.13 on combating antigypyism and discrimination against Roma from 2020, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe has recently adopted Recommendation CM/Rec(2022)16[1] of the Committee of Ministers to member States on combating hate speech. The Organisation also offers various toolkits and guidelines to facilitate the capacity-building of different beneficiaries to adequately respond to increasing trends of hate speech towards marginalised groups, including Roma, and reinforcement of stereotypes and negative effects of antigypyism. Two important resources in this regard are Mirrors – Manual on combating antigypsyism through human rights education and WE CAN! Taking Action against Hate Speech through Counter and Alternative Narratives.

The workshop was jointly organised between the Joint EU-CoE ROMACTED Phase II Programme on “Promoting good governance and Roma empowerment at local level” and the Joint EU-CoE Programme “Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Turkey 2019-2022” within the “Block the Hatred. Share the Love!” campaign.

„Blokiraj mržnju. Podeli ljubav“ – ambasadori protiv govora mržnje from Council of Europe OP Services on Vimeo.

This article was originally published on the Council of Europe – ROMACTED program website.

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