manoteises.lt/pranesk is a platform established by NGOs for victims of hate crimes/incitement to hatred or witnesses of such events to easily report hate crimes to NGOs or the police and receive help.
Depending on what you choose when answering the questions on the platform, the material you submit:
● will be forwarded to the police;
● will be forwarded to NGO aid associations;
● will not be forwarded to anyone. In this case, the information will be kept by the Lithuanian Center for Human Rights.
A hate crime is a criminal offence when the perpetrator acts on bias, prejudice or hatred against a group of persons or a person belonging to it on the grounds of age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, race, ethnicity, language, origins, social status, faith, beliefs or opinions.
A person who is mistakenly assigned to a particular social group can also become a victim of a hate crime. For example, a woman wrapped in a headscarf may be assaulted because of a negative attitude towards Muslims, even if she is not a Muslim herself.
Hate crimes also encompass physical violence or crimes committed against groups of people or their members’ property, manifested in vandalism, various attacks, and desecration of graves.
These are acts that are most often expressed through language, i.e. the use of derogatory, hateful statements and words, including various discriminatory symbols (signs and other objects) or the dissemination of information (letters, messages, comments, photographs, GIFs, etc.), which denigrates, despises, ridicules or incites violence against a person or group of persons because they belong to a vulnerable group.
For example, some people post racist or homophobic comments that violate another person’s dignity on social media. To identify records as hate speech, their content must relate to denigration, contempt, bullying, discrimination and/or incitement to hatred, discrimination or violence.
Hate crime and hate speech are criminalized and entail criminal sanctions.
The damage caused by hate crimes is not so much physical or property damage as long-lasting moral damage. Such crimes infringe on a person’s identity and the equality of persons. These crimes intimidate and humiliate not only the individual but whole communities.
The most important thing we can all do is not to be indifferent and provide our support to people targeted by hate crimes. It is also necessary to notify law enforcement authorities or non-governmental organizations to record such acts. We should not remain silent when witnessing such incidents.
Anyone with information about such a crime.
A hate crime that has been targeted at you or a hate crime you personally witnessed can shock you, but anyone who has witnessed the crime can help the victim.
● It is necessary to ensure your own and the victim’s safety, so it is important to stop the attack or crime. It is only advisable to do so if you feel safe. If not, seek help first. For example, if you notice someone attacked by passers-by in a public place and want to scare away the attackers, you can start shouting or try other ways of attracting attention.
● Try to dial 112 for the police and get help as soon as possible. Indicate if urgent medical attention is required.
● If it is not an emergency involving imminent danger to a person, you can report in other ways as described below.
● It is crucial not to leave the victim alone. Ask the victim as calmly as possible how they feel, support them in deciding the next possible steps. Ask if the person feels safe to go home or elsewhere on their own.
● If you have the possibility, write down all the details of the event. Also, if you have the opportunity, film or photograph the incident, the location of the incident, write down vehicle plate numbers, if a car was involved in the incident, and so on.
● Take notice of other people who witnessed the event, write down the contacts of these people.
The information itself is important and useful because it reduces the latency of hate crimes, lets us learn more about the crimes that have not been reported anywhere else. The Lithuanian Center for Human Rights will anonymize such reports and systematically inform state institutions, the media and other institutions about them. We hope that this will help to create a more effective system of assistance for victims of hate crimes and incitement to hatred in Lithuania.
If you have answered all the questions on the platform, selected an aid organization, but no one contacted you, you can check directly whether the organization has received your request / what is being done with it:
● European Human Rights Foundation (provides free legal aid in all cases of incitement to hatred or hate crimes, can help to prepare a claim, accompany during the pre-trial investigation, assist during trial), http://lt.efhr.eu/, tel. +370 691 50 822, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
● National LGBT Association LGL (provides free legal aid to LGBT+ victims of hate crimes), https://www.lgl.lt/, tel. +370 5 2610314, email: email@example.com.
● Red Cross (provides free legal aid to foreigners coming from non-EU countries who have been victims of hate crimes), https://www.redcross.lt/teisine-pagalba, tel. +370 5 2127322.