Human Rights Education - States obligations in preventing incitement to hatred and hate speech

Co-organized by Geneva International Centre for Justice (GICJ) and the International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (EAFORD)

Side-event held at the United Nations on 16 March 2016 during the 34th session of the Human Rights Council.

Panelists:

Dr. Nabeel Ali Mohammad Alatoom - holds a PhD in Political Science obtained in 2001 from the Tehran University of Law and Political Science; his dissertation focused on the Iranian foreign policies towards the Arab region from 1979 to 1997. Specialized in Iranian studies, he directed several research units, wrote over ten books about Iran and its policies, translated numerous books from Farsi into Arabic, and participated in several conferences about Iran.

Mr. Ahmed Al Quraishi - policy analyst, researcher and writer. As a journalist, he has worked extensively in Iraq, Pakistan, Lebanon, Syria, and the Gulf region, has worked for Aljazeera and authored articles in Arabic and English over the past 24 years. He is currently associated with an independent, Islamabad-based think thank projectpakistan21.org

Mr. Tahar Boumedra, Former UN human rights chief at the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) in Baghdad and Adviser to the Secretary General’s Special Representative for Iraq. His working background allowed him to acquire deep knowledge in the involvement of Iran in the creation of the militias in Iraq as well as its policy against other Arab countries (for instance Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen)

Moderator:
Ms. Gulnoz ٍSaydaminova, Senior Human Rights Researcher at Geneva International Centre for Justice (GICJ)

The right to freedom of expression is clearly outlined in Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and it constitutes one of the fundamental pillars of inclusive and democratic societies. However, such essential liberty may be subjected to restrictions when it infringes on other people’s rights and reputations (Article 19, ICCPR). According to the (ICCPR) and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), incitement to hatred and racial discrimination shall be firmly prohibited by law. The concept of “incitement to hatred” encompasses all theories and propaganda activities disseminating ideas based on racial superiority, particularly those inciting to acts of violence against “any race or group of persons of another colour or ethnic origin” (Article 4/a, ICERD). Furthermore, authorities and public institutions shall not be permitted “to promote or incite racial discrimination” (Article 4/c ICERD).

Despite the comprehensive legal framework defining such limits, several countries continue to promote hate speech and to conduct discriminatory campaigns. In Iran and in Iraq, textbooks, media and governmental sources constantly demonise racial and religious minorities and incentivise the spread of negative and disparaging stereotypes – thus dangerously undermining international human rights law. This side-event aims at shedding light on the negative impact of such policies. Incitement to hatred and hateful messages promoted by national media and academic textbooks perilously increase violence, fuel hatred and have the power to shape the minds of new generations.

Our side event coincides with another debate which will take place on the following day during the 34th session of the Human Rights Council, the “Debate on racial profiling and incitement to hatred, including in the context of migration”. As the rights to equality and nondiscrimination are cornerstones of human rights law and are substantial part of a State obligation towards the international community as a whole, we will focus on the individual States’ response as well as on the actions of the international community in this regard.

Human Rights Education - States obligations in preventing incitement to hatred and hate speech
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Co-organized by Geneva International Centre for Justice (GICJ) and the International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (EAFORD)

Side-event held at the United Nations on 16 March 2016 during the 34th session of the Human Rights Council.

Panelists:

Dr. Nabeel Ali Mohammad Alatoom - holds a PhD in Political Science obtained in 2001 from the Tehran University of Law and Political Science; his dissertation focused on the Iranian foreign policies towards the Arab region from 1979 to 1997. Specialized in Iranian studies, he directed several research units, wrote over ten books about Iran and its policies, translated numerous books from Farsi into Arabic, and participated in several conferences about Iran.

Mr. Ahmed Al Quraishi - policy analyst, researcher and writer. As a journalist, he has worked extensively in Iraq, Pakistan, Lebanon, Syria, and the Gulf region, has worked for Aljazeera and authored articles in Arabic and English over the past 24 years. He is currently associated with an independent, Islamabad-based think thank projectpakistan21.org

Mr. Tahar Boumedra, Former UN human rights chief at the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) in Baghdad and Adviser to the Secretary General’s Special Representative for Iraq. His working background allowed him to acquire deep knowledge in the involvement of Iran in the creation of the militias in Iraq as well as its policy against other Arab countries (for instance Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen)

Moderator:
Ms. Gulnoz ٍSaydaminova, Senior Human Rights Researcher at Geneva International Centre for Justice (GICJ)

The right to freedom of expression is clearly outlined in Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and it constitutes one of the fundamental pillars of inclusive and democratic societies. However, such essential liberty may be subjected to restrictions when it infringes on other people’s rights and reputations (Article 19, ICCPR). According to the (ICCPR) and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), incitement to hatred and racial discrimination shall be firmly prohibited by law. The concept of “incitement to hatred” encompasses all theories and propaganda activities disseminating ideas based on racial superiority, particularly those inciting to acts of violence against “any race or group of persons of another colour or ethnic origin” (Article 4/a, ICERD). Furthermore, authorities and public institutions shall not be permitted “to promote or incite racial discrimination” (Article 4/c ICERD).

Despite the comprehensive legal framework defining such limits, several countries continue to promote hate speech and to conduct discriminatory campaigns. In Iran and in Iraq, textbooks, media and governmental sources constantly demonise racial and religious minorities and incentivise the spread of negative and disparaging stereotypes – thus dangerously undermining international human rights law. This side-event aims at shedding light on the negative impact of such policies. Incitement to hatred and hateful messages promoted by national media and academic textbooks perilously increase violence, fuel hatred and have the power to shape the minds of new generations.

Our side event coincides with another debate which will take place on the following day during the 34th session of the Human Rights Council, the “Debate on racial profiling and incitement to hatred, including in the context of migration”. As the rights to equality and nondiscrimination are cornerstones of human rights law and are substantial part of a State obligation towards the international community as a whole, we will focus on the individual States’ response as well as on the actions of the international community in this regard.