To rally opposition to hate speech and neo-Nazism, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (APCE) and the Council’s Youth Department are staging a Living Library on 30 September and 1 October at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg.
It will work exactly like a conventional library, that is “readers” will be able to borrow a “book” for 20 minutes, with the difference that the books will be people. In this instance the “books” will be victims of racist violence and hate speech (particularly refugees and Roma), members of associations active in combating extremism, antisemitism, racism and homophobia, as well as former neo-Nazis, who will offer their personal testimony.
On 30 September the report by Marietta Pourbaix-Lundin (Sweden, EPP/CD) “Counteraction to manifestations of neo-Nazism” will be debated in plenary session by the PACE. The report underlines the prime responsibility of government representatives and political leaders, and calls on them to form a bloc around a “democratic consensus” on this issue. The report also invites parliamentarians’ support for the initiative of the youth activists in the No Hate Speech Movement to make 22 July the European Day for Victims of Hate Crime.
* * *
The Living Library will be open on 30 September from 1 pm to 5.30 pm and on 1 October from 10 am to 5.30 pm at the Council of Europe, Palais de l’Europe, in Strasbourg. It will be inaugurated on 30 September at 1 pm in the presence of Anne Brasseur, President of the PACE, Olemic Thommessen, President of the Norwegian Parliament and Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, who will deliver addresses.