United Nations General Assembly President Csaba Kőrösi emphasized the crucial role of countering hate speech in atrocity prevention during the 2nd International Day for Countering Hate Speech on 18 June.

Kőrösi urged the international community to enhance its response to the increasing menace of hate speech, especially on social media and online platforms.

Hate speech is frequently directed at marginalized groups, including women, girls, ethnic and religious minorities, as well as migrants and refugees.

“Hate speech is feeding a global rise in violence,” warned Kőrösi, noting that some companies are profiting from ads interspersed within online hate speech content.

In light of the growing accessibility and reach of digital platforms, Kőrösi urged tech companies to take more decisive action. He called for shared responsibilities and collective efforts to identify, confront, and halt hate speech at its earliest occurrence.

The International Day encourages a unified approach to this issue, backed by a UN Strategy and Plan of Action. Launched three years ago by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, these initiatives underline the role of hate speech as a harbinger of atrocity crimes, such as genocide and crimes against humanity.

They also underscore the importance of addressing root causes and drivers of hate speech.

Guterres noted that the UN is consulting with governments and technology companies to develop a voluntary Code of Conduct for information integrity on digital platforms, intended to curb the spread of misinformation, disinformation, and hate speech, whilst protecting freedom of expression.

Alice Wairimu Nderitu, UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, stated her office’s priority is to further enhance UN response efforts to hate speech, both online and offline. “We need action that addresses the impact hate speech has on society from a prevention perspective,” she said.

Morocco’s Foreign Minister, Nasser Bourita, emphasized the significance of the International Day, originally established by a 2021 UN General Assembly resolution spearheaded by Morocco.

Highlighting Morocco’s values of coexistence, dialogue, respect for religions, and diversity, Bourita noted that Morocco has eschewed the rising trend of anti-immigrant and anti-refugee hate speech, instead championing acceptance and integration.