October 26, 2021
1. Ministers of Education from around the world attended the Virtual Global Ministerial Conference on Combating Hate Speech through Education, chaired by the President of Namibia, His Excellency Hage Geingob, and the Executive Director of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay. The conference was convened by United Nations Secretary-General AntÃ³nio Guterres at the launch of the United Nations Strategy and Plan of Action against Hate Speech on June 18, 2019. The conference was co-hosted by United Nations Office Against Genocide. Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect, and UNESCO.
2. The Global Ministerial Conference aimed to present evidence of the scope and detrimental effects of hate speech while providing an opportunity to strengthen the commitment of Member States to address hate speech through education. .
3. Member States expressed concern at the alarming rise in hate speech directed against specific individuals and target groups across the world, threatening human rights and social stability, exacerbating conflicts and tensions, contributing to serious human rights violations, including atrocious crimes, and threatening the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. They also recognized that, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, hateful content, disinformation / disinformation and conspiracy theories have swept the world, exacerbating pre-existing biases, damaging stereotypes, intolerance and discrimination. Therefore, they stressed that treating and combating hate speech requires a holistic approach that addresses both its root causes and its impact. They also stressed the importance of ensuring that efforts to combat hate speech comply with international human rights standards.
4. Participants also recognized the transformative power of education as a fundamental tool to address the root causes and drivers of hate speech, and to promote peaceful, inclusive and just societies for all, in accordance with the Agenda. 2030 and its sustainable development goals.
5. The World Ministerial Conference resulted in a Co-Chairs’ summary recommending that education authorities prioritize:
- Implement specific educational interventions aimed at explicitly tackling hate speech at all levels of education,
in a perspective of lifelong learning.
- Design and implement policies that develop digital citizenship skills.
- Provide adequate professional development and training for teachers and school leaders at all levels of education, through an approach that combats discrimination in all its forms and recognizes and addresses prejudices and stereotypes.
- Combating hate speech through cross-cutting interventions and by encouraging pedagogies and approaches that promote diversity and multiple perspectives, as well as the development of extracurricular activities.
- Improve multisectoral cooperation by establishing partnerships with all relevant stakeholders through a whole-of-society approach to address and counter hate speech through education.
6. Moving forward, the conference co-chairs encouraged education ministers to take the lead in advancing and implementing these recommendations at the national and regional levels.
7. The Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide and United Nations Focal Point on Hate Speech, Alice Wairimu Nderitu, reaffirmed that hate speech can be a driver and trigger of atrocious crimes. She also underlined that âeducation can counter hatred because it can help instill in children and young people the values ââof respect for diversity, peaceful coexistence and dialogue – principles essential to peaceful and inclusive societies, where each individual is respected without discrimination. âThe United Nations Office for Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect will work closely with UNESCO, OHCHR and the United Nations Department of Global Communications on the implementation of the recommendations of the conference.
To see the event:
To view the ministers’ video statements: https://en.unesco.org/news/addressing-hate-speech-through-education-global-education-ministers-conference
For more information on the UN’s work to combat hate speech: https://www.un.org/en/genocideprevention/hate-speech-strategy.shtml
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