Terrorism: #NoHateNoFear, a PACE initiative

The Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) today launched a #NoHateNoFear initative to counter terrorism.

At a special ceremony, parliamentarians stood up to say NO to hate and fear. They committed to follow up on this initiative in their national parliaments.

"We have to prevent the mutual suspicion and hostility that fear of terrorism engenders as an ill in its own right. This is the main purpose of our Assembly’s initiative against terrorism #NoHateNoFear," PACE President Pedro Agramunt announced.

"Terrorism has become a reality of life. Atrocious attacks in Istanbul, Brussels, Tunis, Paris, and recently Orlando have taken the lives of many of our citizens. These heinous attacks have left deep scars that will take years to heal.

Terrorism is violence calculated to create an atmosphere of fear and alarm, panic, despair, anger and hate.

But terror only works when we let our fear and anger dictate what happens next.

We must not fall into this trap. We must prevent them from achieving their broader objective: to divide us.

Whatever we do to counter terrorism must be consistent with the values which unite us: human rights, democracy and the rule of law. The Council of Europe and our Parliamentary Assembly stand for these values. We must ensure security, without unduly limiting our freedoms, resorting to extra-judicial actions or curtailing civil rights. We must maintain a vibrant civil society that supports open discussion and creates trust and understanding.

We must tackle the stigmatisation of certain groups of society due to distrust, suspicion, intolerance, discrimination and hate speech, especially in politics.

If these issues are not tackled, they will fuel populist movements, which play on security as a simplistic option to combat terrorism.

I particularly call on politicians to shoulder their responsibility to speak out publicly against fear and hatred, and to promote fundamental freedoms and the values of tolerance, non-discrimination and respect for human dignity. Through practical action in their parliaments and in their constituencies, parliamentarians can help immunise society against fear and hatred,” the President said.

With the #NoHateNoFear initiative, PACE wants to rally as many people as possible – politicians, religious leaders, academics, journalists, representatives of civil society and ordinary citizens – to say “NO” to fear and hatred.

On the occasion of the launch ceremony, the PACE President also paid tribute to the powerful message which the French reporter Antoine Leiris posted on his Facebook page after losing his wife in the attack on the Bataclan in Paris. "It lies at the very heart of our initiative," he concluded.