could the issue be whites?
Around the world, we are seeing a disturbing groundswell of xenophobia, racism and
intolerance – including rising anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim hatred and persecution of Christians.
Social media and other forms of communication are being exploited as platforms for bigotry.
Neo-Nazi and white supremacy movements are on the march. Public discourse is being
weaponized for political gain with incendiary rhetoric that stigmatizes and dehumanizes
minorities, migrants, refugees, women and any so-called “other”.
This is not an isolated phenomenon or the loud voices of a few people on the fringe of society.
Hate is moving into the mainstream – in liberal democracies and authoritarian systems alike.
And with each broken norm, the pillars of our common humanity are weakened.
Hate speech is a menace to democratic values, social stability and peace. As a matter of
principle, the United Nations must confront hate speech at every turn. Silence can signal
indifference to bigotry and intolerance, even as a situation escalates and the vulnerable
Tackling hate speech is also crucial to deepen progress across the United Nations agenda
by helping to prevent armed conflict, atrocity crimes and terrorism, end violence against
women and other serious violations of human rights, and promote peaceful, inclusive and
Addressing hate speech does not mean limiting or prohibiting freedom of speech. It means
keeping hate speech from escalating into something more dangerous, particularly incitement
to discrimination, hostility and violence, which is prohibited under international law.
The United Nations has a long history of mobilizing the world against hatred of all kinds
through wide-ranging action to defend human rights and advance the rule of law. Indeed, the
very identity and establishment of the Organization are rooted in the nightmare that ensues
when virulent hatred is left unopposed for too long.
Today, I fear, we have reached another acute moment in battling this demon, and so I have
asked my Senior Advisers to explore what more we can do. This Strategy and Plan of Action
is the result. It points to concrete ways in which the United Nations can play its part in
addressing hate speech around the world while upholding freedom of opinion and expression,
in collaboration with Governments, civil society, the private sector and other partners.
By enhancing global resilience against this insidious phenomenon, we can strengthen the
bonds of society and build a better world for all.