MEDIA ADVISORY – Forums to tackle hate speech, social media and minorities

Regional Forums on Minority Issues

September & October 2020

 Forums to tackle hate speech, social media and minorities

 GENEVA (17 September 2020) – The voices of minorities will be at the forefront of online regional forums on hate speech and social media organised by the UN Special Rapporteur on minority issues. The European forum will take place on 21 and 22 September 2020, and the forum for the Asia-Pacific will be held on 19 and 20 October 2020.

 The regional forums will focus on rising scapegoating and targeting of minorities on social media platforms, particularly the growth of hate speech and incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence aimed mainly at minorities, said the Special Rapporteur, Fernand de Varennes.

 Participants from governments, United Nations mechanisms, bodies and specialized agencies, European intergovernmental organization and mechanisms in the field of human rights, civil society representatives, including representatives of minorities will meet virtually to discuss the international human rights-based framework for the protection of minorities against hate speech.

 Participants will discuss:

·         Causes, scale and impact of hate speech targeting minorities in social media

·         International legal and institutional framework

·         The role and responsibility of intergovernmental organisations, States, internet companies and social media platforms

·         Positive initiatives to address online hate speech: the role of NHRIs, human rights organisations, civil society and other stakeholders

 The discussions will provide regional insights and recommendations in relation to the topic ahead of the annual UN Forum on Minority Issues scheduled to take place on 19 and 20 November in Geneva.

 The regional forums are open to the media. More information is available at https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Minorities/SRMinorities/Pages/SRminorityissuesIndex.aspx

ENDS

BACKGROUND:

Pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 6/15 of 28 September 2007 renewed by resolution 19/23 of 23 March 2012, a forum on minority issues has been established to provide a platform for promoting dialogue and cooperation on issues pertaining to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities, as well as thematic contributions and expertise to the work of the Special Rapporteur on minority issues. The Forum shall identify and analyse best practices, challenges, opportunities and initiatives for the further implementation of the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities.

 The Forum meets annually for two working days allocated to thematic discussions. The Special Rapporteur on minority issues, Mr Fernand de Varennes, is tasked to guide the work of the Forum, prepare its annual meetings and report on the thematic recommendations of the Forum to the Human Rights Council.

 For additional information and media requests please contact:

Jeremy J Laurence, Media Officer, at +41 22 9179383 / Jlaurence@ohchr.org

 Or please contact Ms. Marina Narvaez (+41 22 917 96 15 / mnarvaez@ohchr.org) or Ms Hee-Kyong Yoo (+41 22 917 97 23 / hyoo@ohchr.org)

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