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Hate speech growing globally: UN

  Hate speech growing globally: UN ISLAMABAD: The United Nations says that hate speech is on the rise worldwide with the potential to incite...


Hate speech growing globally: UN

ISLAMABAD: The United Nations says that hate speech is on the rise worldwide with the potential to incite violence, undermine social cohesion and tolerance, and cause psychological, emotional and physical harm to those affected.

Hate speech not only affects the specific individuals and groups targeted, but societies at large, the UN said in commemoration of the first ‘International Day to Counter Hate Speech’ on Saturday.

This first international day is a call to action. “Let us recommit to doing everything in our power to prevent and end hate speech by promoting respect for diversity and inclusivity,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a statement.

Mr Guterres said: “Words can be weaponized and cause physical harm. The internet and social media have turbocharged hate speech, enabling it to spread like wildfire across borders. The spread of hate speech against minorities during the Covid-19 pandemic provides further evidence that many societies are highly vulnerable to the stigma, discrimination and conspiracies it promotes.”

First international day to counter hate speech observed

According to the UN, the devastating effect of hatred is sadly nothing new, however, its scale and impact are amplified today by new technologies of communication, so much that hate speech, has become one of the most frequent methods for spreading divisive rhetoric and ideologies on a global scale. If left unchecked, hate speech can even harm peace and development, as it lays the ground for conflicts and tensions, wide scale human rights violations.

This is not an isolated phenomenon or the loud voices of a few people on the fringe of society. Hate is moving into the mainstream — in liberal democracies and authoritarian systems alike, and with each broken norm, the pillars of common humanity are weakened, the UN says.

In July 2021, the UN General Assembly highlighted global concerns over “the exponential spread and proliferation of hate speech” around the world and adopted a resolution on “promoting inter-religious and intercultural dialogue and tolerance in countering hate speech”.

The resolution recognizes the need to counter discrimination, xenophobia and hate speech and calls on all relevant actors, including states, to increase their efforts to address this phenomenon, in line with international human rights law.

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