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Towards a safer space for minorities - 13th Session of the Forum on Minority Issues
20 Nov 2020 -  Item 5: Towards a safer space for minorities: positive initiatives to address online hate speech: the role of national human rights institutions, human rights organizations, civil society and other stakeholders

Hate speech against minorities on social media often occurs within a larger context, including the propagation of fake news, misinformation and disinformation, and it may be used to serve certain political and/or ideological goals and interests. This can contribute to a climate of fear among minority communities, as it may create or contribute to growing racism, intolerance and discrimination, undermining the respect of human dignity and the protection of the human rights of minorities. Therefore, it is often necessary to focus on the role of influencers and leaders, including at international, regional and national levels, in order to find possible pathways to engage them in the fight against hate speech targeting minorities on social media.

International and regional organizations, national human rights institutions and civil society can also play an important role in supporting minorities affected by hate speech, including a preventive role, through gathering knowledge and information and ensuring effective action, including through facilitating or fulfilling the critical need of data collection on the degree to which minorities are targeted on social media by hate speech, including through research and advocacy for combating impunity and calling for accountability.

Participants will further discuss the role of international cooperation and the sharing of best practices in the effective implementation of international and regional instruments on the promotion and protection of the rights of persons belonging to minorities. In addition, participants will address the important role of a new generation of young digital citizens and of new tools and platforms, as well as the need to empower minorities to stand up to hate speech.

Participants will also discuss the role of other stakeholders, including religious leaders and faith actors. In this context, participants will consider the Beirut Declaration on Faith for Rights and its 18 commitments as well as the #Faith4Rights toolkit.

• Mr. Thomas Hughes, Director, Facebook Oversight Board Administration
• Mr. Andre Oboler, Social media and online public diplomacy expert and Managing Director, Online Hate Prevention Institute
• Mr. Jerald Joseph, Commissioner of Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM)

Interactive Dialogue
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