Voicing serious concern over growing hate speech worldwide, Pakistan has called for a collective effort to counter its manifestation such as Islamophobia, racism, xenophobia and incitement to violence.
“Hate is a threat to everyone; Combating it must be a collective effort,” Ambassador Aamir Khan, deputy permanent representatives of Pakistan to the UN, said in a remarks at an event organized by Morocco in connection with the first-ever International Day for Countering Hate Speech.
Among the priority actions proposed by the Pakistani envoy was for government interventions to “domestically criminalize certain manifestations of hate speech, such as racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia and incitement to violence.”
“Hate speech is on the rise worldwide, with the potential to incite violence, undermine social cohesion and tolerance based on xenophobia, racism, Islamophobia, hatred and other forms of intolerance and discrimination,” Ambassador Aamir Khan warned.
“History has shown us that genocide and other atrocity crimes begin with words – there is a collective responsibility to address hate speech in the present day to prevent further violence in the future.”
He hoped that, under the umbrella of the UN Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech, bold actions twill be taken to respond to intolerant, inflammatory and prejudiced narratives that are stoking and intensify racial and religious fears, hostility and hatred.
Among other actions, the Pakistani envoy proposed were:
— To build consensus on the imperative to strengthen education, a powerful tool, to counter hate speech and set out concrete recommendations in this regards, and,
— Social media companies urgently review their policies, and to effectively regulate hate speech and disinformation online, an effort that would require governments and relevant technological companies to work together.
Meanwhile, at a briefing in connection with the Day, the UN Special Adviser on Genocide, Ms. Alice Nderitu, was asked by a Pakistani correspondent about rising Islamophobia in India. “We have quite a number of situations of concern, and, of course, that’s that’s one of them,” she said.
In a message issued to mark the International Day for Countering Hate Speech, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said hate speech incites violence, undermines diversity and social cohesion and “threatens the common values and principles that bind us together.”