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Hate speech: a global overview

1 September 2020 - 09.00 am EST | 15.00 CET - Online

The Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies and Global Action Against Mass Atrocity Crimes (GAAMAC) are pleased to invite you to the first panel discussion of “Decoding Hate Speech”,  a series of four high-level online conversations bringing together leading voices to discuss the linkages between hate speech, technology and atrocity prevention.

In recent years, hate-fuelled rhetoric in public discourse and in the media have been on the rise around the world. By revolutionizing the way we communicate and interact, the Internet and social media have considerably amplified this phenomenon. Online hate speech and the weaponization of social media have had violent impacts in places such as Myanmar and Sri Lanka, Eastern Europe, Syria, and even Charleston in the United States.

National and international responses to this global phenomenon have been uneven. Some governments are hesitant to regulate freedom of speech while governments with authoritarian tendencies have imposed social media rules to crack down on activists and journalists. Big Tech Companies, meanwhile, have failed to strongly address online hate speech.

Alarmed by the increase of hate speech around the globe, the UN Secretary-General launched the UN Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech in 2019, which proposes a holistic approach to identify, address and counter hate speech. However, progress has been slow, despite rising calls for regulations and codes of conduct.

Countering hate speech is a major national and international policy challenge. The first panel of the “Decoding Hate Speech” series will address the complexity of this phenomenon with an informed, nuanced and multi-partied approach to identify and counter hate speech as a potential factor conducive to human rights violations and atrocity crimes.

Moderator

  • Mô Bleeker, Special Envoy for Dealing with the Past and Atrocity Prevention at the Swiss Federal Department of Federal Affairs

Panellists:

  • Castro Wesamba, Chief of Office, United Nations Office for Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect
  • Katarzyna Gardapkhadze, Officer in Charge, OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights
  • Lieutenant-General Romeo Dallaire, Founder of the Child Soldiers Initiative and MIGS Distinguished Fellow

Read the concept note