On Thursday, April 11, 2019, Shahen Mirakian, president of the Armenian National Committee of Canada (ANCC), testified at the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights regarding the committee's ongoing study on how to combat online hate in Canada.
The committee initiated the study to hear the different perspectives and recommendations of various civil society organizations, on how to strategically combat online hate and to explore the possible amendments that could be made to the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code.
In his opening remarks to the committee, Mirakian said “As representatives of a community that has suffered genocide, the ultimate expression of hate based violence, we are more familiar than most with the consequences of the promotion of hate. Similarly as a community that has routinely advocated for positions that run counter to the status quo, we are fierce defenders of freedom of expression.”
Mirakian also highlighted the important work that is being done by a coalition of by human rights advocacy organizations to mark April as Genocide Remembrance, Condemnation and Prevention Month while asking the Government of Canada to adopt a national strategy for tracking, preventing and prosecuting hate motivated cyber-vandalism and hacking of community organization websites and social media accounts.
“The study undertaken by this committee is a very important first step in combatting online hate. We are thankful to this committee for making room on its agenda during Genocide Remembrance, Condemnation and Prevention month to bring attention to this issue and do its part in preventing future genocides. We are hopeful that this study results in an effective national strategy to deal with the pressing problem of online hate promotion.” concluded Mirakian.