World has seen sharp rise in hate since 7 Oct: UNGA session president
Referring to the start of the latest West Asia conflict after Hamas attacked Israel last month, Dennis Francis invoked the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Asserting that hate has no place in the world, the 78th UN General Assembly session president Dennis Francis has said hate speech encourages a cycle of violence and distrust that cannot resolve conflicts as he gave a clarion call to stand united against the menace.
"Since 7 October, the world has seen a sharp and worrying increase in hate, hate speech and hate crimes,” Francis said in a message, referring to the start of the latest West Asia conflict after Palestinian militant group Hamas attacked Israel last month. “This is utterly and unequivocally unacceptable. I am reaching out to you, near or far, with a single, clear message: hate has no place in our world."
Francis vehemently denounced discrimination on any grounds, online or offline, and repudiated any threats or incitement to violence rooted in a person's race, ethnicity, or religion.
“Hate speech only deepens painful wounds and encourages a cycle of violence and distrust that cannot resolve conflicts and/ or misunderstandings,” he said, and recalled the first line of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”, adding that the UN will re-dedicate itself to this message at the impending 75th anniversary celebrations.
The reference to the first line of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is noteworthy since it is the pioneering Indian reformer and educator, Dr Hansa Mehta, who is credited with making a significant change in the language of Article 1 of the UDHR, by replacing the phrase “All men are born free and equal” to “All human beings are born free and equal.”
Mehta served as the Indian delegate to the UN Commission on Human Rights in 1947-48, and is widely known for ensuring a more gender-sensitive language in the landmark UDHR. Francis said the declaration “abhors, as we should, and must, the dehumanization of all people, whether based on race, ethnicity, faith, gender, disability, or sexual orientation.”
Emphasising that constructive conversations and respectful dialogue are the keys to fostering harmony, mutual understanding, and tolerance among all people, Francis called on the international community to stand united against hate and hate speech.
“Let us promote instead tolerance, compassion and a commitment to peaceful coexistence, in order to build strong, cohesive, inclusive and productive societies, that benefit all, in equal measure. Together, we can build a future of peace, anchored on harmony and respect, and based on our common inalienable humanity,” he said.