UN reports a worldwide increase in hate speech

Islamabad: According to the United Nations, hate speech is on the rise globally and has the potential to incite violence, undermine societal cohesion and tolerance, and cause psychological, emotional, and physical harm to those impacted.

In observance of the first “International Day to Counter Hate Speech,” the United Nations stated on Saturday that hate speech affects targeted individuals and groups and entire societies.

This inaugural global day is a call to action.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated, “Let us recommit to doing everything in our power to prevent and stop hate speech by promoting respect for diversity and inclusiveness.”

 

Mr. Guterres stated, “Words can be used as weapons and cause physical injury.”

Internet and social media have supercharged hate speech, allowing it to spread like wildfire across international borders. The growth of hate speech towards minorities during the Covid-19 outbreak is more proof that many communities are highly susceptible to the stigma, prejudice, and conspiracies it promotes.”

Observance of the First International Day to Combat Hate Speech

According to the United Nations, the destructive effect of hatred is sadly not new; however, its scale and impact are amplified today by new communication technologies, to the extent that hate speech has become one of the most common means of propagating divisive rhetoric and ideologies on a global scale. Moreover, hate speech can hinder peace and development if left uncontrolled, as it builds the groundwork for conflicts, tensions, and large-scale human rights violations.

This is neither an isolated incident nor the result of a few outliers hurling abuse. On the contrary, hatred is gaining ground in liberal democracies and authoritarian regimes alike, and with each norm violated, the pillars of humanity are eroded, according to the United Nations.

In July 2021, the United Nations General Assembly emphasized global concerns on “the exponential spread and proliferation of hate speech.” It adopted a resolution to “promote interreligious and intercultural dialogue and tolerance in combating hate speech.”

The resolution acknowledges the need to combat discrimination, xenophobia, and hate speech and calls on all relevant actors, including states, to intensify their efforts following international human rights law.