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'No acceptable level of hate speech' says UN chief, urging its 'complete' eradication

June 18, 2024 at 6:59 pm

Antonio Guterres sends message of solidarity to people of Gaza during Ramadan wishes

The UN chief, on Tuesday, warned of the dangers of toxic hate speech, saying any level of it is unacceptable and urging its complete elimination, Anadolu Agency reports.

“Hate speech is a marker of discrimination, abuse, violence, conflict and even crimes against humanity. We have seen this play out from Nazi Germany to Rwanda, Bosnia and beyond. There is no acceptable level of hate speech; we must all work to eradicate it completely,” said Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, in a written statement marking the International Day for Countering Hate Speech.

Guterres highlighted the diverse groups that hate speech is aimed at, including those based on race, ethnicity, religion, belief or political affiliation.

Stressing the recent increase in anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim rhetoric both online and in public comments by influential figures, Guterres said hate speech is “massively amplified by the power of digital platforms and tools that enable it to spread across borders and cultures”.

Stressing States’ legal duties, Guterres said: “States have an obligation under international law to prevent and combat aggression to hatred and to promote diversity, mutual understanding and solidarity. They must step up and implement these commitments, while ensuring that the measures they take preserve freedom of speech and protect minorities and other communities.”

He emphasised the significant impact of hate speech on young people, particularly online, and called for their inclusion in the solution.

“Governments, local authorities, (and) religious, corporate and community leaders have a duty to invest in measures to promote tolerance, diversity and inclusiveness, and to challenge hate speech in all its forms,” ​​he added.

On 18 June, 2021, the UN General Assembly declared 18 June the International Day for Countering Hate Speech, with the aim of promoting inter-faith and inter-cultural dialogue and tolerance as effective counters to hate speech.

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