Guterres seeks action to eradicate hate speech

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Guterres said hate speech today targets a broad range of groups, often based on grounds of race, ethnicity, religion, belief, or political affiliation…reports Asian Lite News

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for action to eradicate hate speech completely.

In his message on the International Day for Countering Hate Speech, the UN chief said on Tuesday that hate speech is “a marker of discrimination, abuse, violence, conflict, and even crimes against humanity”.

“There is no acceptable level of hate speech; we must all work to eradicate it completely,” he added.

Noting that recent months have seen an upsurge in both anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim hate speech online and in public comments by influential leaders, Guterres said hate speech today targets a broad range of groups, often based on grounds of race, ethnicity, religion, belief, or political affiliation, Xinhua news agency reported.

“Hate speech may be used against women, refugees, migrants, gender-diverse and trans people, and minorities,” he stressed, adding that it is massively amplified by the power of digital platforms and tools that enable it to spread across borders and cultures.

Countries have an obligation under international law to prevent and combat incitement to hatred and to promote diversity, mutual understanding and solidarity, and the United Nations Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech provides a framework to tackle both the causes and impacts of this scourge, said Guterres.

The United Nations is currently preparing Global Principles for Information Integrity to guide decision-makers around these issues, he added.

“As young people are often most affected by hate speech, particularly online, young people must be part of the solution,” Guterres noted, stressing, “The participation of young people …is crucial to create public and online spaces free from hate speech.”

Governments, local authorities, religious, corporate and community leaders must invest in measures to promote tolerance, diversity and inclusivity, and to challenge hate speech in all its forms, the UN Chief said.

“As we mark the International Day for Countering Hate Speech, let us all work to promote human rights education, bring young people into democratic decision-making, and counter intolerance, discrimination, prejudice and stereotypes, wherever they are found,” he concluded.

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