‘Europe’s cockroaches’ : freedom of expression, hate speech and their impact on refugee human rights

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O'Hehir, Rachael
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This thesis looks at our right to freedom of expression. Through a philosophical and legal perspective, freedom of expression is examined. It highlights some of the key ideas of John Milton and John Stuart Mill who are notable defenders of this right. Through the case law of the European Court of Human Rights and different international human rights conventions, it displays how issues related to this right are addressed in the international arena. Furthermore, this thesis explores how the extreme right-wing political parties in Europe distort this right and how this distortion impacts the human rights of refugees. This implication on the human rights of refugees takes the form of social categorization and dehumanization through hate speech emitted on social media and political campaigns. Finally, this thesis ends with looking at the perception that the public have of freedom of expression and their attitudes towards the hate speech of refugees. Ultimately it portrays the harsh realities that refugees face at the hands of words that are used to describe them and their presence in Europe and how the public reacts to these words.
Second semester University: Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
freedom of expression, hate speech, refugees, Europe, right-wing extremists