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Opening Meeting - 13th Session of the Forum on Minority Issues
19 Nov 2020 -  Item 1: Opening Meeting
• Statement by the President of the Human Rights Council, H.E Ms. Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger
• Statement by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, H.E. Ms. Michelle Bachelet
• Statement by the Acting Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Ms. Pramila Patten
• Statement by the Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues, Mr. Fernand de Varennes
• Remarks by the Chair of the Forum, Ms. Natalie Alkiviadou

Item 2: Causes, scale and impact of hate speech targeting minorities in social media

Worldwide on social media, minorities are the target of most of the incitement to discrimination, hostility and violence, and other forms of intolerance and racist expressions that constitute hate speech. Blaming and scapegoating of minorities is at times exploited for political reasons, or it is present owing to longstanding and entrenched stigmatization and marginalization. Hate speech is thus often a manifestation of deep-rooted bias, racism, intolerance and discrimination. Hateful messages may fall on particularly fertile ground where there are wider social, economic or political problems or divisions in society, and they can be an early warning sign of possible aggravation in the form of incitement to violence against minorities and other marginalized groups. Therefore, the advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred may become the principal tools and early warning signs of organized and systematic violence, which may even contribute to conflicts and instability, as well as to enabling and perpetrating atrocity crimes against minorities.

Participants will be invited to describe the extent to which hate speech on social media targets minorities in particular, and the causes for the apparent overwhelming targeting of national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities. They should also consider how misinformation and disinformation can serve to create conditions conducive to the spread of racism, intolerance and discrimination.

Participants will offer recommendations on how to address the root causes and prevent the possible escalations of the scourge of hate speech on social media, and on how to better identify and acknowledge the disproportionate extent it affects minorities. Recommendations will also be made as to what initiatives could be put forward in order to focus on efforts to protect the main victims of hate speech, namely minorities.

Participants will also discuss the ways to address the consequences of hate speech, bearing in mind a gender perspective, as minority women and girls face multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination, which sometimes makes them more vulnerable to hate speech and its consequences. This is particularly true in situations of conflict, where minority women are at high risk of violence and abuse.

• Mr. Iulius Rostas, Visiting Professor at the National School of Political Science and Administration in Bucharest and Central European University
• Ms. Beena J. Pallical, General Secretary of the Economic and Educational rights wing within National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR)
• Ms. Lecia Brooks, Chief of Staff, Southern Poverty Law Centre

Interactive Dialogue