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Hate speech dehumanizes individuals and communities: Guterres |

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It promotes racism, xenophobia and misogyny; dehumanizes individuals and communities; and has a serious impact on our efforts to promote peace and security, human rights and sustainable development, underlined Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

Dangerous words

He explained it words can be used with weapons and cause physical harm.

Escalation from hate speech to violence has played an important role in the most horrific and tragic crimes of the modern era, from the anti-Semitism that caused the Holocaust to the 1994 genocide against the Tutsis in Rwanda, he said.

The internet and social media have fueled hate speech, allowing it to spread like wildfire across borders, the UN chief added.

Fighting against

Spreading hate speech against minorities over COVID-19 The pandemic has further shown that many societies are highly vulnerable to the stigma, discrimination and conspiracies it promotes.

In response to this growing threat, three years ago, Mr. Guterres launched the UNHate speech strategy and action plan– a new framework to support member states in dealing with the wound, while also respecting freedom of expression and opinion.

It was undertaken in collaboration with civil society, media, technology companies and social media platforms.

And last year, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution calling for intercultural and interfaith dialogue to combat hate speech and declared International Day.

Hate speech is a danger to everyone and fighting it is a job for everyonesaid the UN chief.

The first international day against hate speech isa call to action. Let us commit ourselves to doing everything in our power to prevent and end hate speech by promoting respect for diversity and inclusion.

Hatred incites hostility

In a sign of how the phenomenon is becoming a growing problem, UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet and UN Special Adviser on Genocide Prevention Alice Nderitu voiced their deepest concern on Friday over the language of hatred that is fueling violence against civilians. long clashes between the M23 rebel group and government forces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The two senior officials demanded that attacks on civilians be stopped immediately.

“We call on all parties to respect international human rights law and international humanitarian law,” they said.

Senior UN officials noted that hate speech and incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence across the country – specifically directed against kinyarwanda speakers – was a significant factor, as the DRC government accused Rwanda of supporting M23.

Hate speech fosters conflict by exacerbating mistrust between communitiesthey said.

It focuses on aspects that have previously been less important, fosters a discourse between us towards them, and erodes social cohesion between communities that have previously lived together.

Spreading hatred

To date, the UN has documented eight cases of hate speech and incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence and has been spread by political party figures, community leaders, civil society actors, and the Congolese diaspora.

Times of political tension and armed conflict tend to be linked to increased use of hate speech and incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence, the two senior officials said.

Hate messages increase the risk of violence, including atrocities targeting specific groups of people [and] should be severely punished by the highest national authorities and restrained.

Both women encouraged Parliament to speed up the passage of the bill on racism, xenophobia and tribalism to strengthen the legal framework to address and combat hate speech.

Sources

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2/ https://news.un.org/en/story/2022/06/1120742

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