Hate speech incites violence and intolerance. The devastating effect of hatred is sadly nothing new. However, its scale and impact are now amplified by new communications technologies. Hate speech – including online – has become one of the most common ways of spreading divisive rhetoric on a global scale, threatening peace around the world.
The United Nations has a long history of mobilizing the world against hatred of all kinds to defend human rights and advance the rule of law. The impact of hate speech cuts across numerous UN areas of focus, from protecting human rights and preventing atrocities to sustaining peace, achieving gender equality and supporting children and youth.
Because fighting hatred, discrimination, racism and inequality are among its core principles, the United Nations is working to confront hate speech at every turn. This mission is enshrined in the UN Charter, in international human rights frameworks and in global efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
Hatred is a danger to everyone – and so fighting it must be a job for everyone.”
ANTÓNIO GUTERRES, United Nations Secretary-General, 2021
UN Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech
In response to the alarming trends of growing xenophobia, racism and intolerance, violent misogyny, antisemitism and anti-Muslim hatred around the world, UN Secretary-General António Guterres launched the United Nations Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech on 18 June 2019. This first UN-wide initiative designed to tackle hate speech provides a road map on how the Organization can support and complement States' efforts. The strategy emphasizes the need to counter hate holistically, while respecting freedom of opinion and expression, and to collaborate with relevant stakeholders, including civil society organizations, media outlets, tech companies and social media platforms.