"Hate speech incites violence, undermines diversity and social cohesion, and threatens the common values and principles that bind us together," Guterres said.
In a message for the International Day for Countering Hate Speech on Saturday, United Nations Secretary Antonio Guterres warned against the stigma and discrimination fanned by the Internet and social media.
"The internet and social media have turbocharged hate speech, enabling it to spread like wildfire across borders. The spread of hate speech against minorities during the COVID-19 pandemic provides further evidence that many societies are highly vulnerable to the stigma, discrimination and conspiracies it promotes," he noted.
Besides promoting racism, xenophobia, and misogyny, hate speech "dehumanizes individuals and communities; and it has a serious impact on our efforts to promote peace and security, human rights, and sustainable development," Guterres added.
In response to this growing threat, the United Nations fosters its "Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech," which provides a framework for our support to member states to counter this scourge while respecting freedom of expression and opinion, in collaboration with civil society, the media, technology companies and social media platforms.
"This first International Day to Counter Hate Speech is a call to action. Let us recommit to doing everything in our power to prevent and end hate speech by promoting respect for diversity and inclusivity," he added.
In July 2021, the UN General Assembly highlighted global concerns over "the exponential spread and proliferation of hate speech" around the world and adopted a resolution on "promoting inter-religious and intercultural dialogue and tolerance in countering hate speech."
The resolution recognizes the need to counter discrimination, xenophobia and hate speech and calls on all relevant actors to increase their efforts to address this phenomenon. The resolution proclaimed June 18 as the International Day for Countering Hate Speech.