United Nations defines hate speech as any kind of communication in speech, writing or behaviour, that attacks or uses pejorative or discriminatory language with reference to a person or a group on the basis of who they are, in other words, based on their religion, ethnicity, nationality, race, colour, descent, gender or other identity factor.
According to United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, “Tackling hate speech crucial to deepen progress across the United Nations agenda by helping to prevent armed conflict, atrocity crimes and terrorism, end violence against women and other serious violations of human rights, and promote peaceful, inclusive and just societies. Addressing hate speech does not mean limiting or prohibiting freedom of speech. It means keeping hate speech from escalating into something more dangerous, particularly incitement to discrimination, hostility and violence, which is prohibited under international law”.
The threat posed by hate speech is also recognised by the largest global collective organisation of the Global South – the Non-Aligned Movement. NAM has reaffirmed the need for all Member States to further contribute regionally and internationally to the promotion of dialogue, tolerance, mutual respect, understanding and acceptance; and to counter radicalism, extremism and hate speech. NAM further recognizes the importance of moderation as an all-encompassing approach and a value within societies to tackle global challenges and threats to international peace and security.
NAM has welcomed the adoption of the Resolution 73/328 by the United Nations General Assembly, on 25th July 2019 on “Promoting interreligious and intercultural dialogue in countering hate speech”. The Resolution recognises the commitment of all religions to peace and the contribution that interreligious and intercultural dialogue among religions, groups and individuals, in particular religious leaders, can make towards an improved awareness and understanding of the common values shared by all humankind. The Resolution further emphasizes that Member States, regional organizations, national human rights institutions, non-governmental organizations, religious bodies, the media and civil society as a whole have an important role to play in promoting tolerance and respect for religious and cultural diversity and in the universal promotion and protection of human rights, including freedom of religion or belief.
NAM has thus called on all Member States to devote the highest priority to educational programs that promote dialogue and tolerance among communities in order to curb the scourge of hate speech. Further, NAM has stressed the need for international cooperation and initiatives that help promoting mutual understanding between communities.
NAM has reaffirmed that the dialogue among all cultures, civilizations and religions should be a durable process and that, in the current international environment, it is not an option but an imperative, sound, and productive tool to promote economic and social development, peace and security, and human rights and the rule of law, at the national and international levels, to guarantee a better life for all.
NAM Member States have further reaffirmed in this context that tolerance, acceptance, reconciliation, mutual understanding and respect are fundamental values of international relations and that cultural diversity and the pursuit of cultural development by all peoples and nations are sources of mutual enrichment for the cultural life of humankind and the attainment of human rights for all.
NAM has recognized the valuable contributions of all religions and beliefs to modern civilization and the contribution that dialogue among civilizations can make to an improved awareness and understanding of common values of tolerance and peaceful coexistence as well as non-discrimination on any grounds.
NAM has reiterated the need to continue working towards the promotion of dialogue and understanding among all civilizations, cultures and religions and reaffirmed the commitment to work together to prevent cultural homogenization and domination or incitement to hatred and discrimination, combat defamation of religions and develop better ways for promoting tolerance, respect for and protection of the freedom of religion and belief, including the right to preserve one’s cultural identity.