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Austria: Freedom of Speech

Volume 691: debated on Monday 30 April 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by Lord Triesman on 19 April (HL3022), whether legislation in Austria provides for the exercise of freedom of speech on the circumstances in which (a) Armenians lost their lives in 1915-16, and (b) Jews lost their lives in Germany during the Second World War; and whether this legislation is compatible with membership of the European Union. [HL3338]

We are not aware of legislation in Austria preventing free discussion of the events in the then Ottoman Empire in 1915-16. Denial of the Holocaust is an offence in Austria and a number of other European states.

As well as their undertakings under other international human rights law, all members of the EU are obliged to comply with the European Convention on Human Rights. Article 10 of the convention covers the right of freedom of expression, although that right may be subject to restrictions in certain circumstances specified in the convention. An individual prosecuted under national law in a member state of the EU may challenge the legislation in the European Court of Human Rights.