Remarks by H.E. Mr. Miguel Ángel Moratinos
Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for UNAOC
at the High-level Event to Commemorate the International Day of Countering Hate Speech

19 June 2023, 11:00 am, Trusteeship Council, UN Headquarters, New York

Your Excellency Mr. Csaba Korosi,
Mr. President of the General Assembly,
Your Excellency , Under-Secretary-General Alice Wairimu N’Deritu,
Your Excellency, Amb. Omar Hilale, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Morocco,

Allow me to congratulate you on the occasion of the 2nd International day for countering hate speech. I commend the Kingdom of Morocco for sponsoring the groundbreaking resolution.

We need to remind ourselves every day of what hate speech does to our societies. It erodes trust. It fuels anger and triggers violence.

Around the world, there is an alarming surge In hate speech and xenophobia based on religion or belief, race or gender including disturbing rise in antisemitism, Islamophobia and Christianophobia.

Religions are being weaponized to serve political gains.

Hate speech thrives in democratic societies as well as in authoritarian regimes. We should not be silent. We should stand up and speak against hate in all its forms.

I recall articles 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the right to freedom of expression carries with it special duties and responsibilities, in accordance with article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Since this session tackles good practices, I wish to flag 2 issues:

This past week, Parliamentarians and faith actors gathered in Marrakech in a conference organized by the InterParliamentary Union and the Parliament of the Kingdom of Morocco to discuss among other issues interfaith dialogue and the role of religious leaders in countering hate speech, incitement of violence and digital challenges to democracy. UNAOC was one of the sponsors of the conference and chaired that session.

In his message to the conference, His Majesty King Mohammed VI referred to the stigmatization of the ‘other’ because of their religion, color or ethnicity and reminded us that “the memory of mankind still bear witness of acts of genocide and devastating wars triggered by discourses and ideologies rooted in religious bigotry or sectarian and ethnic intolerance”.

It is no coincidence that the government of Morocco takes up this issue of hate speech at heart.

The foundation of identifying Hate Speech and addressing it was launched in The Kingdom of Morocco, in the city of Rabat. I am referring to the Rabat Plan of Action that was adopted in October 2012. The UN Strategy on Hate Speech draws on the Rabat Plan of Action.

Also last week, the Security Council adopted resolution 2686 which tabled by the United Arab Emirates and the UK in which it recognizes that hate speech, racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, related forms of intolerance, gender discrimination, and acts of extremism can contribute to driving the outbreak, escalation and recurrence of conflict, and undermine initiatives to address root causes of conflict and prevent and resolve conflict, as well as reconciliation, reconstruction and peacebuilding efforts.

The GA resolution on this international day recognizes the importance of interreligious and intercultural dialogue and its valuable contribution to promoting social cohesion, peace and development, and calls upon Member States to consider, as appropriate and where applicable, interreligious and intercultural dialogue as an important tool in efforts aimed at achieving peace and social stability and the full realization of internationally agreed development goals.

UNAOC is proud of providing a recognized global platform for interreligious and intercultural dialogue with the aim of bridging the cultural divides and building cohesive, inclusive and peaceful societies.

Our 9th Global Forum in November 2022 was hosted by the Kingdom of Morocco in the city Fez, a city that stands out as a symbol of interfaith harmony and cultural diversity at its best. The title of the forum: “Building an Alliance of Peace: Pathway to living Together as One Humanity”. More than 1200 government officials, civil society organizations, faith actors, religious leaders, academia and media came together in Fez to exchange views and debate the best practices of “living together as one humanity” culminating in the adoption of the Fex declaration by UNAOC Group of Friends.

A holistic approach that engages all stakeholders is key is countering hate speech and promoting mutual respect.
I thank you