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Global Action Against Mass Atrocity Crimes: addressing hate speech

Hate speech, incitement and discrimination are recognized as risk factors leading to the commission of atrocities. The case of Myanmar is an example with the current Rohingya genocide.
On May 2019, United Nations Secretary General Guterres launched its strategy and action plan on hate speech to enhance the United Nations (UN) efforts to address root causes and drivers of hate speech and to enable effective UN responses to the impact of hate speech on societies. Currently, the Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, Mr. Adama Dieng, is spearheading the elaboration of the strategy and action plan (https://www.un.org/en/genocideprevention/hate-speech-strategy.shtml). 
The Global Action Against Mass Atrocity Crimes (GAAMAC) states that no society is immune, and that attention shall be paid to hate speech across all regions, including notably and regrettably so in Europe with the rise of populist propaganda. 

GAAMAC offers a trusted space to talk about real issues, such as hate speech. A space to share good practices, to jointly learn from successes and failures without pointing fingers and to look instead for concrete and feasible solutions. GAAMAC’s Asia-Pacific regional initiative aims at building expertise, knowledge and understanding of hate speech, incitement, and discrimination as risk factors leading to the commission of atrocities. Building on existing policies and practices to face these phenomena, the Asia-Pacific regional initiative aims at generating political will for permanent national prevention systems in the Asian region and beyond. 

Furthermore, the upcoming GAAMAC global meeting – GAAMAC IV – will take place in The Hague, the Netherlands, from 16 to 19 November 2020 with the focus on prevention of hate speech, incitement and discrimination, as well as how to manage new and current forms of media and fake news, which contribute to the dissemination of hate speech and incitement, and how media could play a preventive role instead. Convening GAAMAC IV in Europe aims at raising awareness about the rise of hate speech, incitement and discrimination in Europe and other regions, and to galvanize support for prevention mechanisms to counter hate speech. 

The Global Action Against Mass Atrocity Crimes (GAAMAC) (www.gaamac.org) as a community of commitment composed of states, civil society and academic institutions pledging to prevent atrocities by establishing national prevention mechanisms and policies has set an exemplary precedent for democratic engagement between governments and civil society actors. 

By Jelena Pia-Comella – Senior Advisor – GAAMAC

 
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