Equality and hate speech

Equality and hate speech

Hate and discrimination present increasing challenges to ensuring that all people are able to enjoy their right to freedom of expression, and other human rights, equally.   Removing discriminatory barriers so that all people can speak out and be heard, and ensuring that no one is censored on the basis of who they are, is central securing the right to freedom of expression.

“Hate speech”, as a form of discriminatory expression, is a serious human rights concern.  It is a tool often used to silence and intimidate minorities, and to scapegoat whole groups in society while stifling dissent. Whether promulgated by politicians or spread by media outlets or online, “hate speech” can create environments conducive to violence and other human rights violations against minority groups.

While international human rights law requires States to prohibit the most severe forms of “hate speech”, censorship is rarely an effective means of tackling its root-causes.    Broadly framed “hate speech” laws are also frequently misapplied to target minority and dissenting expression.

ARTICLE 19 advocates for States to engage in a range of law and policy measures to counter “hate speech” with more speech, seeking to maximise inclusivity, diversity and pluralism in public discourse. That means clearly defining the circumstances in which certain types of “hate speech” can or must be limited, and ensuring those measures are only used exceptionally, and as a last resort.

HRC46: Hate speech, social media and minorities
15.03.2021 3 min read

HRC46: Hate speech, social media and minorities

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Iran: Joint Letter – Call for the Renewal of the Mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on Iran
12.03.2021 13 min read

Iran: Joint Letter – Call for the Renewal of the Mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on Iran

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Iran: Parliament passes law to further choke freedoms and target minorities
19.02.2021 9 min read

Iran: Parliament passes law to further choke freedoms and target minorities

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UN: To protect privacy in the digital age, world governments can and must do more
25.01.2021 13 min read

UN: To protect privacy in the digital age, world governments can and must do more

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Ethiopia: Hate speech and disinformation law must not be used to suppress the criticism of the Government
19.01.2021 10 min read

Ethiopia: Hate speech and disinformation law must not be used to suppress the criticism of the Government

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Iran: Lawmakers must urgently drop the Bill that criminalises fundamental rights and freedoms
10.12.2020 12 min read

Iran: Lawmakers must urgently drop the Bill that criminalises fundamental rights and freedoms

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The Politics of Hate Speech
27.11.2020 12 min read

The Politics of Hate Speech

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Working Paper: ချစ်စကိုရှည်စေ၊ မုန်းစကိုတိုစေ: Structures and vocabularies of counter-speech on Facebook in Myanmar
27.11.2020 2 min read

Working Paper: ချစ်စကိုရှည်စေ၊ မုန်းစကိုတိုစေ: Structures and vocabularies of counter-speech on Facebook in Myanmar

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UN Forum on Minority Issues: Comprehensive action needed on online hate speech
20.11.2020 3 min read

UN Forum on Minority Issues: Comprehensive action needed on online hate speech

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