Even a few words, used maliciously, can be transmitted globally in seconds, inciting people to violence and stoking racial, linguistic, and religious differences. That’s why UNICRI and the United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect are leading a training on how to combat hate speech.
The malicious use of social media during the COVID-19 pandemic is the latest example of this worrying phenomenon. Hate groups have circulated false theories blaming immigrants and minority groups for spreading the virus. Inflammatory memes, propaganda posters, and hashtags have proliferated on social media platforms. Younger generations, in particular, are exposed to the “normalization” of hate speech through new media channels.
Leveraging its expertise in research and training, UNICRI enhances the capacity of law enforcement and legal and media professionals to identify, investigate, and counter hate speech and hate crimes. We support victims in the criminal and civil justice systems. And we analyze hate speech and extremist trends as driving factors of violence and atrocity crimes.
Education is our most effective weapon in the fight against hate, and this is why our training participants learn how to use their own words to fight hate speech and to defend human rights in all our societies.
Antonia Maria De Meo, Director of UNICRI