July 20, 2024 12:22 (IST)
Follow us:
facebook-white sharing button
twitter-white sharing button
instagram-white sharing button
youtube-white sharing button
ED arrests Haryana Congress MLA Surender Panwar in illegal mining case | Over 300 Indian students return home as 105 killed in Bangladesh unrest | NEET-UG 2024 retest to be held only if sanctity is lost due to paperleak on large scale: Supreme Court | Avoid travel and minimize movement: India's advisory to its nationals in Bangladesh amid Jatrabari violence | No systemic failure: NTA to Supreme Court on NEET-UG 2024 paper leak
Genocide prevention adviser warns of global threat posed by hate speech
Genocide
Photo Courtesy: UNICEF/Brown

Genocide prevention adviser warns of global threat posed by hate speech

| @indiablooms | 15 Jun 2024, 07:22 pm

The UN’s top genocide prevention official warned on Friday that hate speech remains a significant threat to global peace and security, often targeting society’s most vulnerable.

Alice Nderitu, Special Adviser of the Secretary on the Prevention of Genocide, emphasized that in addition to violence, hate speech also reinforces discrimination, stigma, dehumanization, and marginalization.

“Violence does not start when physical attacks are launched. Violence often starts with words. Words of hatred spread intolerance, divide societies, promote and endorse discrimination and incite violence,” she told ambassadors at the Security Council.

Her briefing was presented in the context of resolution 2686, adopted unanimously in June 2023, on tolerance and international peace and security.

In the resolution, the 15-member Council urged UN Member States to condemn and prevent hate speech, extremism, and violence, and encouraged the promotion of tolerance, intercultural dialogue, women's participation, social cohesion, quality education, and peace initiatives.

It also requested feedback on the spread of hate speech and timely reporting.

Hate speech and disinformation

In ongoing crises or conflict situations, hate speech intensifies existing tensions and vulnerabilities.

Ms. Nderitu warned that combined with disinformation, hate speech entrenches divisions and poses direct threats to civilians, potentially leading to severe crimes such as genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.

Combined with disinformation, hate speech entrenches divisions and poses direct threats to civilians

In addition, the proliferation of social media use has exacerbated the reach and impact of hate speech, she added.

Such divisive, misleading and hateful narratives enable hate speech to spread rapidly and reach distant audiences, thus increasing the potential for offline harm.

“The widespread use of social media … is allowing hate speech to be employed by anyone, reaching quicker distant audiences, and hence increasing the potential for offline harm. Minorities are particularly targeted. And so are women, especially those in public space,” Ms. Nderitu warned.

Delicate balance

At the same time, tackling hate speech should never be used to stifle freedom of expression, she stressed.

“Blanket restrictions, bans and internet shutdowns are not the solution and may violate human rights, including freedom of expression. They may also silence the actors working to stand up against hate speech including civil society, human rights defenders, and journalists.”

UN Plan of Action

The Special Adviser stressed the UN’s commitment to raising awareness about the dangers of hate speech and addressing its impacts, drivers, and root causes.

The UN Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech provides a comprehensive framework for addressing the scourge in line with international human rights standards, she said, outlining its various tools, including dialogue, education, and promoting social cohesion and peace.

“The Strategy is being employed across the UN system, especially in the field, to support national actors, including Member States, who have the primary responsibility in addressing hate speech,” she added.

Dedicated action

Ms. Nderitu said since the Council resolution passed, several UN peacekeeping operations have monitored and prioritized counter measures, including against gender-based hate speech.

“Tackling hate speech is complex and requires dedicated attention and support,” she said, calling for continued political commitment and support from the Security Council as well as urging Member States to develop national action plans rooted in human rights and civilian protection.
 

Support Our Journalism

We cannot do without you.. your contribution supports unbiased journalism

IBNS is not driven by any ism- not wokeism, not racism, not skewed secularism, not hyper right-wing or left liberal ideals, nor by any hardline religious beliefs or hyper nationalism. We want to serve you good old objective news, as they are. We do not judge or preach. We let people decide for themselves. We only try to present factual and well-sourced news.

Support objective journalism for a small contribution.