Hate speech fosters hostility, violence against migrants, minorities: UN experts

Exposure to hate speech is directly associated with the number of hate crimes, read the open letter

By DTE Staff
Published: Wednesday 25 September 2019

Hate speech by world leaders, government officials, politicians and other prominent figures have increased significantly both online and offline. This has fuelled societal, racial tensions and fostered attacks against migrants other marginalised groups across the globe, according to an open letter by nearly two dozen independent United Nations experts.

“We are alarmed by the recent increase in hateful messages and incitement to discrimination and hatred against migrants, minority groups and various ethnic groups, as well as the defenders of their rights, in numerous countries,” said the experts in the letter released on September 23, 2019. 

While the rhetoric of hate-filled messages provoking discrimination is aimed at boosting their “own political gain”, these can also result in deadly consequences, said the experts in the letter released on September 23, 2019. 

It is spreading fear among the public against migrants; jeopardising the values embedded in democracy and disrupting the peace and stability in the society, the letter read.

“Studies have also established a correlation between exposure to hate speech and the number of hate crimes committed,” read the letter.

The world has in the past seen “catastrophic tragedies” due to demonisation of a group of people as “dangerous or inferior”. Thus, the need of the hour is to counter them, said the experts.

States must take “strong action against racist and xenophobic speech”. The letter also called on public officials, politicians and media to collectively promote societies that are tolerant and inclusive, while doubling their efforts to make the perpetrators of violence accountable.

“Traditional and social media companies should exercise due diligence to ensure that they do not provide platforms for hate speech and for incitement to hatred and violence”, said the expert.

Such efforts can help “make countries safer and foster the inclusive and peaceful societies”, they said.

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