The Armenian Ministry of Justice has drafted a bill that would criminalize hate speech in the country and has presented it for public debates. The new draft law on amending the country’s Criminal Code proposing to hold a person to account for “making public calls of violence threatening the life or health of persons, publicly justifying violence threatening persons’ life or health or advocating such violence.” In an official statement on Wednesday, the ministry says it has studied the domestic hate speech laws, as well as international standards and good practices in the fight against hate speech after PM Nikol Pashinyan tasked the ministry to discuss the expediency of criminalizing calls for violence at a cabinet meeting on 6 June. While developing the new measure, the ministry took into account the incease in hate speech in Armenia, public concerns in this regard, as well as the need to prevent intolerance, discrimination and growing violence. The approaches adopted by the bill are based on the recommendations of international human rights organizations, particularly the European Union. “The purpose of the bill is to adequately fight extreme forms of hate speech. Particularly, the criminal accountably tool is necessary in cases when the hate speech is intended to incite violence against individuals or groups of persons,” the Justice Ministry said, adding hate speech inciting violence has been criminalized in a number of countries, including Canada, Russia, Spain, Belgium, Romania, France, Poland and Moldova.