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MRG reacts to the report of the SR on minorities on hate speech, social media and minorities

15 March 2021

Human Rights Council – 46th Session

Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on minority issues – item 3

Mister Special Rapporteur,

Minority Rights Group (MRG) welcomes your timely report on hate speech, social media and minorities.

Your recognition of minorities as primary victims of harmful speech is critical to contextualising online hate as part of a broader environment of discrimination and persecution of marginalised groups, including minorities, women, and persons with disabilities.

Online attacks against minorities both affect and are affected by social, legal, and cultural factors that contribute to creating a social hierarchy of communities. These factors, combined with dehumanising or derogatory rhetoric on social media, fosters conditions that are not only conducive of violence and discrimination, but that tolerate it. As such, to effectively counter the phenomenon of online hate, state and corporate responses must also consider and address long-term drivers of insecurity and root causes of discrimination such as inequity in economic or political life.

MRG echoes your concerns around impunity and the respective responsibility of states and social media platforms to take measures to prohibit hate speech, with due regard to freedom of expression. As Covid-19 further drives activism to the digital space, counter-hate speech measures and national security imperatives are quickly becoming a pretext for civil society repression online.

I thank you.

Click here to read the Special Rapporteur’s report on hate speech, social media and minorities.

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