More than 100 primary and secondary school pupils and teachers from all over Bosnia and Herzegovina gathered at the old bridge of Konjic on 23 and 24 August to raise awareness of hate speech and bullying and to promote the fight against them.
The secondary school pupils performed a dance flash-mob on the Konjic’s old bridge to raise the awareness of the local public of the need to fight against hate speech, and to present the “Block the Hatred. Share the Love” campaign in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In addition, the primary school pupils had the opportunity to learn about diversity and non-discrimination, while playing jointly board games designed to fight bullying.
While addressing the participants, ombudsperson of Bosnia Herzegovina Dr. Jasminka Džumhur stressed the importance of the fight against hate speech for establishing an inclusive and diverse society. “Hatred separates and divides people, but love unites. So, join us in blocking the hate and sharing the love”, said Dr. Džumhur
All participants shared messages of love, equality and respect, which is of the utmost importance in a multicultural society.
Assistant Minister of the Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees Saliha Đuderija underscored that “It is important that we actively suppress hate speech, fight for the condemnation and punishment of those who spread it, and educate the media and their audiences.”
Mayor of Konjic Osman Ćatić stressed that hate speech should be taken seriously, primarily due to the large presence of the social media and added “spreading half-information and misinformation, could lead their users to a significant extent to confusion, alienation, and often results in spreading hatred towards the others and those who are different.”
“No-Hate Speech Ambassadors” journalist Kristina Ljevak, who moderated the event and the dance instructor and writer Josip Milanović who developed the choreography and lead the “Dance for Love!” flash mob supported the campaign. Young European Ambassadors also took part in this event, sharing their experiences and personal stories with the participants and raised their voices in support of an equal society, free from discrimination and hate speech.
The “Block the Hatred. Share the Love!” is an awareness raising initiative that aims to combat various forms of hate speech targeting specific communities and individuals in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in the Western Balkans. The initiative is supported by prominent public figures, institutions and activists, who are promoting diversity and equality in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in the region, through personal storytelling, testimonies and exchange of good practices.
This activity is organised by the action “Promotion of diversity and equality” in partnership with the action on “Quality education for all” in Bosnia and Herzegovina, part of the joint European Union and Council of Europe programme “Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Turkey 2019-2022“.