Date of Meeting: 02 Dec 2015

Meeting Organizer: Permanent Representatives to the United Nations of Ghana, Norway, and Poland

ISJC Staff Present: Luke Cozens

Reporter: Luke Cozens

Which SDG does this topic cover? 4, 9, 10, 11, 16

Type of meeting: Side event

Brief summary of presentation of information made

  • Racism is a violation of human rights and most countries have laws or policies designed to combat racism. However, there is also a right to freedom of speech which needs to be respected – we cannot ban everything which offends. Still, hate speech threatens to silence the free speech of victims, so while maintaining pluralism and tolerance, restriction of expression is sometimes justified. However, the distinction between offensive expression and hate speech should not be drawn in the abstract.
  • The UN urges activists and young people in particular to use the internet to combat discrimination. UN DPI has launched a new campaign building on the 2012 “Let’s Fight Racism” campaign. The internet should be used as a tool to fight racism.
  • The internet has a massive scope with the world being dominated by the media. Reliable media is a critical pillar of democracy but given its scope concerns with the internet may need to go beyond national policy. Transparency is an effective way to combat racism – i.e. the publicizing of private hate speech.
  • In Poland legal action against hate speech is investigated from detection to completion by a specialist team. The most serious cases of hate speech should be criminalized but there are other methods for dealing with less serious cases – a mind-set change is needed. There is no single road to radicalization and a need for greater education in global citizenship.

What was of particular significance to share with The Salvation Army globally?

The Internet is becoming a large area for both positive change and for negative action.  All Salvationists need to be aware of this and use internet communication responsibly, considering what impact their contribution is making, both positive and negative.

Web links for more information


Tags: United Nations, SDG10: Reduced Inequalities, SDG16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, SDG4: Quality Education, SDG11: Sustainable Cities and Communities, SDG9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure