This year, the National Forum on Human Rights (NFHR) symbolically honored the 70th anniversary of the European Convention on Human Rights, with the forum's motto being "Endorsing Diverse Lithuania in Europe". Representatives from the public and the NGO sectors, academia and the international community discussed a wide range of human rights topics, such as the pandemic’s impact on public mental health and education, human rights violations in Belarus, gender equality, data protection, and the right to privacy.
Hate crimes received extra attention in the forum, since the international conference "Promoting Effective Response to Hate Crimes and Hate Speech in Lithuania” was also being hosted at the time. In total, experts from various fields – police officers, lawyers, academics, journalists, and human rights professionals – from Lithuania and abroad shared their insights into hate crime in five discussions at the conference.
The conference aimed to draw the attention of the state to the need for an effective response to hate crimes, to promote closer cooperation between state institutions and NGOs, to start an open discussion on the real hate crime situation in Lithuania, and to share ideas and best practices in order find effective means to tackle hate crime.
It is worth noting that one of the discussions tried to see things through the eyes of hate crime victims and understand what they went through in order to find out what they experience when hate is directed at some immutable part of themselves and what can be done to help them.