The National Youth Council of Serbian in cooperation with the OSCE Mission to Serbia in 2020 and in the conditions of necessary physical distance carried out activities aimed at educating young people about hate crimes within the project Be Aware, Dedicate Yourself – Youth Against Hate Crimes. Through these activities we introduced the topic of hate crimes to young people all over Serbia, as well as provided them with the necessary knowledge in the field of prevention, and introduced them to the protection mechanisms in case they found themselves facing the victimhood of a hate crime.
During three months, we virtually visited ten cities and ten districts, and through our events we have gathered participants from 24 cities, municipalities and districts!
With participants we discussed topics of hate crimes in the cyber environment, hate crimes based on xenophobia and hate crimes based on gender/sexuality, as well as hate crimes against minority groups. Through 10 online events, experts and members of the KOMS team acquainted and spoken to over 200 participants, including young people, students, members of associations, pedagogues, representatives of local organizations of civil society and local authorities.
We also wanted to listen and talk to young people, so they shared with us their experiences with violence motivated by race, nationality, gender, identity, sexual orientation and others, but they also spoken to us about diversity, tolerance and solidarity and their importance to a society.
The term we discussed was the term of a hate crime: If a criminal offense was committed out of hatred due to affiliation to a race and religion, national or ethnic affiliation, gender, sexual orientation or gender identity of another person, this circumstance shall be considered an aggravating circumstance by the court, unless it is prescribed as a characteristic of the criminal offence.
In order to bring this term closer to young people and enable them to understand it in the best way, we have left them the space to share it with us how they would define it. Some of them did so as follows:
“A crime motivated by hatred towards someone just because he is different”
“Unfortunately, something that is a common occurrence, to which the environment that surrounds it is mostly blindfolded.”