The example below illustrate how the Step by Step guide in chapter 7 is used.

Each counter narrative needs to be tailored to the specific context of the hate speech situation. Chapter 5.4 and 5.5 describe how a human rights based narrative can become an effective alternative to hate speech.

The case example

La Cimade organises the ‘Migrant’scène’ festival in France

Developed by Agata de Latour, based on information provided by La Cimade

Over the last decades, France has been going through a serious crisis in terms of its values of freedom, equality, and solidarity (widely known as Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité). Despite France’s historical contributions to the development of human rights frameworks, France is facing serious difficulties in living up to its international human rights and humanitarian commitments in relation to the rights of asylum seekers, refugees and migrants. This can be observed in a number of areas: the administrative and legal obstacles in asylum procedures; difficulties in accessing information, and limitations in access to public services, housing and health care; alarming conditions in detention centres; and discriminatory practices and abusive treatment. All these are leading to the precariousness, impoverishment, isolation and exclusion of the migrant population on French territory.1

French society is also becoming less tolerant and respectful of difference. The rise of racist statements and acts has been steady, as documented by reports by the National Consultative Commission of Human Rights.2 The Commission devotes a large part of the reports to hate speech online targeting all minorities, such as Muslims, Jewish or Roma and, in recent years, also refugees. Reports confirm that the Internet as a space for the free flow of ideas has also become a space of proliferation of hate and the banalisation of evil.

Despite the fact that Islamophobia and hate speech against migrants have increased, especially since the 2015 and 2016 terrorist attacks, these trends have existed for decades. It is the general oppressive narrative targeting migrants and refugees that the association La Cimade have been addressing, through a series of activities, since 2009. In this example, the organisation of the Festival Migrant’scène is highlighted as one of them. 


  • 1 The French association La Cimade published in 2016 a report concerning the relationship between asylum seekers and France’s legal bodies, entitled ‘Sold out’, available at, accessed 30 August 2016.
  • 2 Commission Nationale Consultative des Droits de l’homme webpage, available at, accessed 20 August 2016.
  • 3 A parliamentary deputy from a right-wing party making comments about the arrival of migrants in 2012
  • 4 One of the Ministers of the French Government
  • 5 A web-user on the situation of five migrants who were swimming in the port of Calais while trying to reach a ferry in 2015
  • 6 Another web-user calling the truckers to violent action in 2015
  • 7 The French association La Cimade has noticed and reported the increasing number of expulsions since 2008 as well as the deplorable conditions of migrants in retention centres, and administrative dysfunctioning in the expulsions process
  • 8 La Cimade Association webpage, available at, accessed 27 August 2016
  • 9 Festival Migrant’scène webpage, available at, accessed 27 August 2016
  • 10 La Cimade Associatios webpage, available at, accessed 27 August 2016
  • 11 Rue 89 Lyon Online webpage, available at, accessed 27 August 2016
  • 12 La Cimade Association webpage on their added value, available at, accessed 27 August 2016
  • 13 Visages de Migrants website, available at, accessed 27 August 2016