Summit held to counter hate speech in Geneva

United Nations,  :  The United Nations in Geneva held a major summit to counter hate speech, co-hosted by Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng.
A ‘disturbing groundswell’ of hate-based violence and intolerance aimed at worshipers across all faiths, must be countered soon before it’s too late, the United Nations Secretary-General said, noting murderous attacks on a synagogue in California, and a church in Burkina Faso.
Warning against a “revival” of ultra-nationalist groups and parties, the UN official warned that they “legitimised violations”, by portraying minorities as a threat to their culture and identity.
“These groups are spreading their incendiary language into mainstream political discourse; we see this in too many countries,” he said, at the event co-hosted with the International Association for the Defence of Religious Liberty (AIDLR). “We need to collectively and actively stop these dynamics and counter them with messages of openness and inclusion.”
Just over a week ago, a terror attack on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka claimed hundreds of lives, while in New Zealand on 15 March, an extremist, and self-avowed white supremacist, gunned down 50 mosque worshippers.
Last month, Mr Dieng also expressed concern about spiraling inter-communal violence in central Mali which claimed 134 villagers’ lives in one single attack, including women and children.
He warned that it could degenerate, if nothing is done to stop it.
“Over the recent months, violence has reached unprecedented level amid retaliatory attacks and serious violations of human rights in central Mali impacting on all communities,” Mr Dieng said in a statement. “Unless these concerns are immediately addressed, there is a high risk of further escalation of the situation in which atrocity crimes could be committed.”
Michael Møller, Director-General of UN Geneva, told participants at the Second Global Summit on Religion Peace and Security that hate speech was “spreading like wildfire through social media into the mainstream”.
“It is a menace to our values, to social stability, to peace itself. And such hate speech is in turn the breeding ground for unfathomable evil,” he said, before insisting that the attacks in New Zealand and Sri Lanka represented “the bigotry that says another person is less than my equal, less than human.”
In the face of such horrific events it was nonetheless crucial to remember that most people displayed “understanding, kindness, justice and reconciliation”, Mr Møller insisted.
“The world must step up to stamp out anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim hatred, persecution of Christians and all other forms of racism, xenophobia, discrimination and incitement”, said the UN chief.


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