Is Europe facing a return to the 1930s? The economic crisis seems to be heightening suspicion and resentment towards minority communities and elites alike. Populist movements that were once on the fringes of public debate are going mainstream. Parties of both Left and Right are struggling with the politics of hate and fear. At the same time, voices that challenge majority views are fewer, owing to the dominance of larger media owners and greater government control in some EU countries. Freedom of expression is one of the oldest rights cherished in Europe; but is freedom to debate becoming freedom to propagate hate and blame? The politics of blame are flourishing as people seek to find who is responsible for the euro crisis, unemployment and falling incomes. Have Greeks replaced Muslims as new scapegoats for populists? How should hate speech be prevented at EU level?
This debate will mark the retirement of Aryeh Neier, celebrating his two decades as President of the Open Society Foundations. Aryeh Neier has been an activist and campaigner for human rights since his student days in the 1950s. His distinguished career includes serving as president of the American Civil Liberties Union and founder of Human Rights Watch. His new book The International Human Rights Movement: A History will be available at the event. His successor is Christopher Stone, who became the Open Society Foundations’ new President in July.
Two other distinguished human rights campaigners and experts will open the debate:
- Emma Bonino, Vice-President of the Italian Senate and former Commissioner and MEP, and
- Nils Muižnieks, Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe and former Latvian minister.
Registration to this event is mandatory.
Les Halles des Tanneurs, Rue des Tanneurs 60, 1000 Brussels