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Statement by the Commission on the occasion of the European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorism – The European Sting – Critical News & Insights on European Politics, Economy, Foreign Affairs, Business & Technology

ByChad J. Johnson

Mar 10, 2022
(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


Ahead of the 18and European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorism tomorrow, the Commission issued the following statement:

“On the European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorism, we come together to listen to and support survivors, and to pay tribute to the victims of terrorist atrocities.

Terrorists seek to sow fear and tear apart the social fabric of our society.We will never let them divide us. We are and will remain strong and united.

As a community, it is our duty to protect and support survivors and help them rebuild their lives. We will defend and guarantee their rights, in particular to specialized and psychological support as well as legal advice.

It is also our duty to prevent further attacks. And we won’t let our guard down. Over the past year, with shutdowns and the coronavirus pandemic, hate speech and extremist ideologies have increasingly spread across the internet. Terrorists are increasingly trying to recruit people online. They attract young people on social networks or through video games.

Through the EU Internet Forum, we work with internet companies to counter hate speech and radicalization online. Our prevention work also focuses on working with social workers, teachers and police through the Radicalization Awareness Network to reach those who may be vulnerable to radicalization.

We will continue to support victims and build inclusive, rights-based and resilient societies where everyone can find their place. It is the best protection against the terrorist threat.

Background

European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorism was created after the attacks in Madrid on March 11, 2004, which killed 193 people and injured thousands more. Every year since 2005, the European Union has commemorated the victims of terrorism around the world on this date.

Provide support to victims of crime, including victims of terrorist attacks, is an important part of the Commission’s work to address all dimensions of the terrorist threat. The EU has put in place a strong legal framework to protect victims across Europe through the EU-wide compensation scheme, the Victims’ Rights Directive and the the fight against terrorism. The von der Leyen Commission adopted the first-ever EU Victims’ Rights Strategy (2020-2025). The main objective of this strategy is to ensure that all victims of crime, regardless of where in the EU or the circumstances in which the crime took place, can fully claim their rights. In September 2020, the Commission launched the European Victims’ Rights Platform and appointed its first European Commission Coordinator for Victims’ Rights. The Commission recently launched a consultation to gather public views on a possible revision of the Victims’ Rights Directive and on ways to further strengthen victims’ rights.

the Radicalization Awareness Network, through its Working Group on the Memory of Victims of Terrorism, presents the experiences of victims, contributes to the memory of all victims of terrorism and highlights the human consequences of violent extremism. The rights of victims and their support are also at the heart of the work carried out by the European Network of Associations of Victims of Terrorism, set up by the Commission.

In addition to prevent terrorist offenses first, the EU is active in the fight against terrorist propaganda – offline and online, depriving terrorists of the means and space to plan, finance and carry out attacks, and fighting against radicalisation. As part of the Security Union Strategy 2020-2025, the Commission presented a new counter-terrorism agenda setting out the way forward for counter-terrorism actions at EU level, to better anticipate, prevent, protect and respond to terrorist threats.

The EU Internet Forum provides a collaborative environment for EU governments, the Internet industry and other partners to discuss and address the challenges posed by the presence of malicious and illegal content online. The Forum aims to explore possible responses against the abuse and exploitation of online platforms by terrorists and violent extremists.