Campaign for Hate Crime Law
"Raise your voice" was one of the topics of the campaign against hate crimes by the Association for Social Change and the SayStop Initiative. The beginning of the campaign was marked by a symposium in Istanbul. Main aims are a draft bill and raising public awareness.
The Association for Social Change and the SayStop Initiative launched the "Let's Bury Hate Crimes in History" campaign on Friday (17 December) aimed at the enforcement of a "Hate Crime Law".
The campaign will comprise events on racism, discriminations and hate crimes, an international conference on hate crimes, and activities on hate speech in the media and following up offences.
The campaign seeks to support equality of discriminated groups in social life and to contribute to the formation of a society free from hatred.
A symposium entitled "Meeting against Hate Crimes" on 17/18 December in Istanbul marked the beginning of the campaign.
Preparing a hate crimes draft bill
Taşkın Tankut Soykan from the Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE) said in his opening speech, "Turkey needs a special legislation on hate crimes. At the same time, awareness has to be created in society".
Soykan emphasized the aim of the campaign as enforcing a hate crimes law. He informed the audience that a draft bill prepared by lawyers in co-operation with non-governmental organizations was going to be submitted to parliament. Furthermore, a signature campaign would be initiated in order to create public awareness, he said.
"What are hate crimes?"
Assoc. Prof. Asuman İnceoğlu from Bilgi University started her speech with a definition of hate crime:
"[A hate crime is] violence against a person by reason of his/her characteristics such as race, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, physical disability, age or social status".
İnceoğlu stressed that hate crime should not be confused with crimes of genocide and discrimination. "Hate crimes include the concern of conveying a certain message. This is not valid for genocide. Discrimination involves a different treatment but once the 'motive for prejudice' i.e. the reason that directs the crime disappears, the crime disappears too.
On the second day, the symposium was continued with the screening of a documentary by deceased singer Ahmet Kaya, who was an alleged sympathizer of the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). Moreover, workshops were scheduled with the Positive Life Association, the Hrant Dink Foundation, the Association for Social Change and the SayStop Initiative.
A forum was organized by Prof. Yasemin İnceoğlu, Hayko Bağdat, the Edirne Romani Association, the Positive Life Association, the Pink Life Association, the Protestant Churches Association and the SayStop Initiative. (BT/VK)
İstanbul - BIA News Center
20 December 2010, Monday