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.

New guidelines: How to use the UN Special Procedures for stronger advocacy
12.05.2022 1 min read

New guidelines: How to use the UN Special Procedures for stronger advocacy

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Joint Declaration on Freedom of Expression and Gender Justice
03.05.2022 5 min read

Joint Declaration on Freedom of Expression and Gender Justice

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Hybrid event: Invitation to the launch of the 2022 Joint Declaration
28.04.2022 2 min read

Hybrid event: Invitation to the launch of the 2022 Joint Declaration

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Malaysia: End hateful rhetoric against Rohingya refugees
28.04.2022 6 min read

Malaysia: End hateful rhetoric against Rohingya refugees

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Twitter: What Elon Musk must do to protect free speech
27.04.2022 3 min read

Twitter: What Elon Musk must do to protect free speech

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UK: Abolishing the Human Rights Act will not protect freedom of speech
08.03.2022 5 min read

UK: Abolishing the Human Rights Act will not protect freedom of speech

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Russia: Crackdown on LGBT+ activists must end
16.02.2022 4 min read

Russia: Crackdown on LGBT+ activists must end

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International: Letter to the White House following Summit for Democracy
31.01.2022 17 min read

International: Letter to the White House following Summit for Democracy

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International: End gender-based violence and intimidation against female human rights defenders
02.12.2021 3 min read

International: End gender-based violence and intimidation against female human rights defenders

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