United Nation, Jun 19: United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has declared war on hate speech, telling the Member States on Tuesday, that we all need to “do better at looking out for each other”.
“Hate speech may have gained a foothold, but it is now on notice”, Mr. Guterres said, launching the UN Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech. “We will never stop confronting it”.
Secretary-General António Guterres makes remarks at the Launch of the United Nations Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech meeting.
While the strategy and action plan are new, it is also rooted in the need to respect the human rights of all, barring any discrimination.
The UN Charter was drafted after the world had witnessed genocide on an industrial scale, when hate speech against Jews, culminated in the Holocaust. Almost 75 years on, Mr. Guterres reminded delegates gathered at UN Headquarters in New York, that “we are in danger of forgetting this lesson”.
“Around the world, we see a groundswell of xenophobia, racism and intolerance, violent misogyny, anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim hatred” he stated, noting that in some places, Christian communities were also being systematically attacked.
Moreover, “hateful and destructive views” are amplified “exponentially” through digital technology and extremists are gathering online, radicalizing new recruits, according to the UN chief's statement.
“In both liberal democracies and authoritarian regimes, some political leaders are bringing the hate-fueled ideas and language of these groups into the mainstream, normalizing them, coarsening the public discourse and weakening the social fabric”, he spelled out.
In both liberal democracies and authoritarian regimes, some political leaders are bringing the hate-fueled ideas and language of these groups into the mainstream – UN chief
Hate speech not only attacks human rights norms and principles, but it also undermines social cohesion, erodes shared values and lays the foundation for violence – setting back the cause of peace, stability, sustainable development and the fulfillment of human rights for all.
Mr. Guterres dubbed hate speech a “precursor” to the genocide in Rwanda, Bosnia, Cambodia and recent mass-violence directed at places of worship, in Sri Lanka, New Zealand and the United States.