The UN General Assembly adopted a significant resolution on July 25, 2023 to promote global harmony and counter escalating hate speech. Titled “Promoting Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue and Tolerance in Countering Hate Speech,” it underscores nurturing interfaith and cross-cultural conversations as a key tool to stop the spread of hate speech and prejudice.
Grounded in the UN Charter principles and building on existing commitments, the resolution emphasizes the pivotal role of interreligious and intercultural dialogue. It reaffirms the intrinsic value of respecting human rights and freedoms regardless of religion or belief.
Acknowledging dialogue’s essential contribution to social cohesion, peace, and development, the resolution urges member states to consider dialogue as a potent instrument for realizing peace, stability, and development goals.
This landmark resolution also addresses the concerning proliferation of hate speech. It stresses the importance of an internationally agreed hate speech definition and invites stakeholders to observe the International Day for Countering Hate Speech. It also underscores the role of education, culture, peace, and mutual understanding in combating discrimination and hate speech.
The General Assembly unequivocally condemns advocacy of hatred that fuels discrimination, hostility, or violence, whether through traditional media or digital platforms. It highlights the critical interdependence of freedoms like religion/belief with freedom of opinion/expression, advocating their collective role in countering intolerance and discrimination.
Furthermore, the resolution calls for active measures to counter the alarming spread of hate speech, particularly on social media, while upholding human rights standards. It urges member states and social media companies to collaborate in reducing hate speech and enhancing user access to reporting mechanisms.
To comprehensively address this growing challenge, the General Assembly has urged the UN Secretary-General to convene a global conference in 2025, bringing together UN entities, member states, religious leaders, organizations, media, and civil society to deliberate on strategies for promoting interreligious and intercultural dialogue to counter hate speech.
In light of this monumental resolution, the international community is poised to intensify efforts in creating a world where understanding, tolerance, and mutual respect transcend cultural and religious boundaries, countering hate speech and discrimination.
The General Assembly’s resolute commitment to fostering interreligious and intercultural dialogue stands as a testament to the collective determination to build a future of peace, understanding, and unity that transcends divisive rhetoric and fosters a culture of acceptance and respect.